Archive for the ‘Rochester Optics Community’ category

“Ada Lovelace Day” Feature: Hilda Kingslake

March 24, 2010

posted by: Damon Diehl

This is just under the wire, but Greg Gbur over at Skulls in the Stars put up a nice article on women in science that alerted me that today is “Ada Lovelace Day.”  In the words of the Ada Lovelace Day organizers:

Ada Lovelace Day is an international day of blogging (videologging, podcasting, comic drawing etc.!) to draw attention to the achievements of women in technology and science.

Ada Lovelace is widely regarded as the mother of computer programming, as she was the first person to develop a computational algorithm for Charles Babbage’s analytic engine. As it turns out, women have also been a driving force in the field of optics. I would like to take a moment to highlight someone particularly important to Rochester, NY: Hilda Kingslake.

The name “Kingslake” is famous in optics because of Rudolf Kingslake, but, as it turns out, Rudolf actually married into the field. Hilda Conrady, born 1902, was the very first full-time student in the Technical Optics Department of the Royal College of Science, a unit of the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London. Furthermore Hilda was already a second-generation optical scientist, as her father was Alexander Eugen Conrady, a professor of optical design. Rather than recount the story of Hilda and Rudolf Kingslake’s amazing 74 year joint career in optics, I will instead point people to a wonderful memorial written by Brian Thompson for the 75th Anniversary of The Institute of Optics at the University of Rochester. The article is chapter 6 in the book A Jewel in the Crown, edited by Carlos Stroud. (Incidentally, for those considering a career in optics, you may be further tempted by chapter 37, by David Aronstein: “Mmm… Doughnuts“, which traces an Institute of Optics weekly tradition that now spans four decades.)

Rochester Optical Technology Provides Assistance in Haiti

March 3, 2010

We want to take a moment to applaud the University of Rochester’s Center for Emerging & Innovative Sciences (CEIS), the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Laboratory for Imaging Algorithms and Systems (LIAS), and especially our close colleagues at Geospatial Systems, Inc. (GSI), for developing the laser sensors and high-definition imaging technology that were used to quickly map the regions of Haiti devastated by the devastating earthquake on January 12, 2010. Aid workers used these maps to find routes to deliver services to people in greatest need. A bit more information is available in the February 25, 2010 NYSTAR Sci*Tech News Bytes newsletter. You can also read Governor Paterson’s letter of commendation.