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Joseph A. Shaw

Dr. Joseph A. Shaw

Director of the Optical Technology Center and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Physics
Montana State University

610 Cobleigh Hall
Montana State University
Bozeman MT 59717
United States

tel: 406 994 7261
fax: 406 994 5958
E-mail: joseph.shaw@montana.edu
Web: http://www.montana.edu/jshaw/


Joseph Shaw is the Director of the Optical Technology Center, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Affiliate Professor of Physics at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana. Dr. Shaw conducts research developing optical remote sensing systems and using them to study climate, weather, and atmospheric optical propagation. Current projects include polarization imaging, radiometric imaging, multi- and hyper-spectral imaging, and lidar measurements in the natural environment. Dr. Shaw received a Ph.D. in Optical Sciences from the University of Arizona and is a Fellow of both the Optical Society of America (OSA) and SPIE.

Lecture Title(s)

What color is the sky at night? A tribute to Lord Rayleigh
Lord Rayleigh is well known in the optics community for his explanation of the blue sky. In tribute to his contributions to optics, this talk reviews the life of John William Strutt (3rd Baron Rayleigh), known to us as “Lord Rayleigh,” and shows that Rayleigh scattering explains the color of the sky in both sunlight and moonlight. We also learn about the blue-sky Rayleigh’s son, Robert Strutt (4th Baron Rayleigh), who explained how the night sky can appear green. Into this historical and photographic narrative will be woven threads of my own research involving atmospheric scattering, all-sky polarization imaging, and measurements of the Aurora Borealis (“Northern Lights”). The talk incorporates numerous photographs that illustrate both the science and beauty of optics in the night sky.

Optics in Nature
The natural world offers a continual display of fascinating optical phenomena. This talk reviews these natural optical phenomena with a combination of photographs and optical diagrams. Examples are shown of optical scattering, diffraction, refraction, reflection, and emission. Technical and non-technical audiences alike will leave this talk with a greater understanding of sky colors, rainbows, halos, coronas, iridescence, glories, glitter patterns, and auroras.

Coming Soon:

Optics in the air: optics in nature viewed from an airplane window
High-tech economic development from university research and education

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