The Institute of Optics

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Goergen Hall: Biomedical Engineering and Optics.

The Institute of Optics is a department and research center at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York. The Institute grants degrees at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels through the University of Rochester School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Since its founding, the Institute has granted over 2,400 degrees in optics, making up about half of the degrees awarded in the field in the U.S. The Institute is made up of 16 full-time professors, 8 professors with joint appointments in other departments, 5 adjunct professors, 12 research scientists, 11 staff, about 100 undergraduate students and about 100 graduate students.[1]

According to the National Research Council, in its latest ranking of physics departments, the Institute of Optics was ranked 25th in the nation.[citation needed]


Founded in 1929, through a grant from Eastman Kodak and Bausch and Lomb, the Institute is the oldest educational program in the United States devoted to optics.[2][3] During World War I, many American defense companies relied heavily on German optics. The need for an American-based institution of optical training became apparent when the flow of German imports, including optics, attenuated.

The Institute of Optics has long been deeply involved in American optics study and research. The Optical Society of America was founded in 1916 by 30 optical scientists and instrument makers based in Rochester.

The proximity of Rochester to many optical companies has provided an excellent environment for collaboration with industry, as well as funding for research. These companies include Xerox, Eastman Kodak, Corning Glass Works, Bausch and Lomb, and many others.

The Institute of Optics occupied the top floor of Bausch and Lomb Hall from 1931 to 1977. Currently, the Institute is primarily housed in the Wilmot Building on the River Campus of the University of Rochester; construction began in 1961 with support from NASA, as well as other buildings and centers, including the Laboratory for Laser Energetics. The Institute successfully expanded into the new Robert B. Goergen Hall for Biomedical Engineering and Optics, which was completed in March 2007 and was dedicated on May 17, 2007.[4]

Notable faculty[edit]

Research Areas[edit]


  1. ^ The Institute of Optics: About the Institute
  2. ^ Labs for the 21st Century: Partnership Program
  3. ^ T. Russell Wilkins, "The Institute of Applied Optics of the U. of R.," The Journal of the Optical Society of America, XXI (1931), 369-387. Anon., "Unusual Optical Development made Possible by Cooperation of Local Industries," RAR, VII (1929), no. 3, 72-73.
  4. ^ University of Rochester: Office of the President: Diversity Task Force Report: State of the University Presentation to the Faculty Senate

External links[edit]