figure[Courtesy of J.R. Fienup]

figureJoseph Goodman in his office. [OSA Historical Archives]

The year 2018 marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of Joseph Fourier. And this month at OSA’s Imaging and Applied Optics Congress in Orlando, Fla., USA, a special series of invited talks will recognize another, related milestone: the 50th anniversary of the publication of Joseph Goodman’s seminal textbook Introduction to Fourier Optics. The session celebrates the impact not only of the field of Fourier optics, but of Goodman as an author and teacher.

“Since I retired, I have been working primarily on books,” said Goodman in an OSA Celebrating All Members (CAM) video interview. “I’ve published three books so far, and I’m working on a fourth … I really enjoy bringing these books up to date. I’m inspired by book writing.” Goodman, who will also speak at the session, published the fourth edition of Introduction to Fourier Optics just last year.

Optics & Photonics News caught up with the event’s organizer and three scheduled speakers, to get their take on the significance of Goodman’s work and teaching.

Edmund Lam

The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Introduction to Fourier Optics, by Joseph W. Goodman of Stanford University, is a rarity among engineering textbooks. It is both pioneering and enduring—the publishing of this book, in 1968, established the interdisciplinary field of Fourier optics, bringing together engineering and physics students to the use of linear systems theory in analyzing optical imaging systems.

Forty-nine years later, the fourth edition was published, updating this classic with considerable new materials, ranging from computational diffraction and propagation to point-spread-function engineering. Its fundamental and long-lasting influence in the field of imaging cannot be overstated. It is only fitting that in the OSA Imaging and Applied Optics Congress, we celebrate the golden anniversary of the publishing of this book with special talks by Goodman and other luminaries in optics and imaging!

I became a Ph.D. student of Goodman’s in 1996—coincidentally, the same year that the second edition of Introduction to Fourier Optics was published. It was a privilege to be able to learn firsthand from the master himself, for which I am forever grateful. I am honored to be able to organize this tribute to my mentor.

James R. Fienup

University of Rochester, N.Y., USA

When I came to Stanford for graduate school in the early 1970s to work on solid-state theory, people told me that there were no jobs in that area. Then, when I was casting about for a Ph.D. thesis advisor, a friend told me that he was reading this book, Introduction to Fourier Optics, and how it was the clearest, best-written book he had ever read. Furthermore, there were jobs in optics.

Luckily, Joe Goodman was taking students, and he welcomed me into his group. Taking Fourier transforms from Ron Bracewell and then Fourier optics from Goodman was a wonderful experience that got me hooked on the subject, and it has been my mainstay ever since. What is learned in Goodman’s Fourier optics course has had great value that stretches far beyond optics—to microwave synthetic-aperture radar, medical ultrasound, signal processing and X-ray diffraction, to name a few areas. It prepared me to work in all of those fields.

After many years of working at a research organization, I was lured to join the Institute of Optics at the University of Rochester, USA. However, I had a non-negotiable demand: that they assign me to teach the Fourier optics (Physical Optics I) course, for which we use Goodman’s book. Even though the current fourth edition is much thicker than the original, it retains its clarity and conciseness. It leads one, in a cohesive sequence of chapters, from one topic to the next, each chapter building on the ones before it. It richly deserves its reputation as one of the best textbooks ever written, on any topic. The newest chapters on increasingly important topics such as computational aspects of propagating fields and point-spread-function engineering (such as coronagraphs for imaging exoplanets) are most welcome.

James R. Leger

University of Minnesota, Minn., USA

Joseph Goodman’s classic textbook Introduction to Fourier Optics has served as a touchstone in the photonics literature for 50 years. Goodman’s lucid writing and elegant presentation have provided inspiration for thousands of students and have influenced many of them to pursue careers in optics and photonics.

In my opinion, one of the most remarkable aspects of the text is the pedagogical connection between the concepts described in a particular chapter and the exercises contained at the end of the chapter. Many of these exercises are instructional gems, packed with insight that underpins fundamental concepts in Fourier optics. Reducing each problem to its essence is not always easy, and students can spend hours puzzling over the proper approach to the solution. However, once the approach is found, the concept becomes clear and is often revealed to be quite simple. Moreover, these basic concepts provide the educational scaffolding required to master the material in subsequent chapters.

The influence of Goodman’s book and its exercises extends far beyond a student’s first exposure to Fourier optics. In my own experience, these exercises have been seminal to further research developments. Whether it is the fundamental tenets of beam shaping by the Talbot effect or the early development of diffractive optics, Goodman’s homework problems always seem to provide prescient clues to new opportunities in Fourier optics. And with the introduction of the fourth and latest edition of Introduction to Fourier Optics, we are once again treated to fresh topics and exercises from a text that has been so influential in shaping optical science and engineering.

Demetri Psaltis

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland

I first met Joe Goodman in November 1975 in Anaheim, Calif., USA. He presided at the session where I was giving my first-ever conference presentation. At the time, I was working on my Ph.D. thesis on optical information processing, and I knew full well that he was the leader in the field and the author of the definitive textbook, Introduction to Fourier Optics. I was terrified giving my first talk in front of him! I expected that he would look like an old, wise professor with white hair. Instead Joe was young, energetic, and his hair was completely black. He was really friendly before the talk and complementary afterwards. Needless to say, I was thrilled. I will never forget the experience.

I taught a class at Caltech on Fourier optics for 27 years using his book. I resented that little red book, because I found that my lectures could not possibly be any better than the presentation in the text. I had to continuously invent new topics to cover to keep the students interested—and then the next edition would come out, covering those same topics. My advice to all young professors: Never use a Joe Goodman book as a textbook!

It is truly rewarding to see a person as good as Joe also be as accomplished and successful as he has been. Since I met him in 1975, he has been a role model for me. The problem, however, is that he is too good. He does everything well. Do all of us a favor, Joe, and mess up once in a while!

Thanks for everything.