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MSU’s Shaw Awarded 2019 G.G. Stokes Award in Optical Polarization

Photonics.com
Nov 2018
BOZEMAN, Mont., Nov. 29, 2018 — Joe Shaw, professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and director of Montana State University’s Optical Technology Center, has been named the 2019 recipient of the G.G. Stokes Award in Optical Polarization by SPIE, the international society of optics and photonics.

Electrical engineering professor Joe Shaw, third from left, is shown on the roof of Cobleigh Hall in Sept. 2018 with MSU students who have contributed to his optics research. Courtesy of MSU/Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez.
Electrical engineering professor Joe Shaw, third from left, is shown on the roof of Cobleigh Hall with MSU students who have contributed to his optics research. Courtesy of MSU/Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez.

Named for the 19th-century physicist and mathematician whose work underpins today’s understanding of light polarization, the award has been given since 2004 to recognize exceptional contributions to the field.

Seeking to better understand and apply light polarization has been “the driving question at the core of my work over the years,” said Shaw. He recently used polarized optics combined with invisible pulses of laser light to detect the spawning locations of invasive lake trout while flying over Yellowstone National Park’s largest lake. When the harmless laser pulses reflected off the fish at depths of 30 ft or more, the light became polarized and produced a distinctive signal.

Central to Shaw’s research has been a variety of polarization experiments funded by the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research since 2004. The work mainly involves the use of specialized cameras on the flat roof of Montana State University’s Cobleigh Hall to take images of the sky. The images can be used to better understand how the patterns of various wavelengths of polarized light in the sky change due to atmospheric conditions. The research is helping to develop advanced measurement methods with applications in military surveillance and climate science.

BusinessMontana State UniversityMSUJoe ShawpeopleawardsG.G. Stokes Awardoptical polarizationopticsInternational Society of Optics and PhotonicsAmericas

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