JPL Origins Theme Technologist Receives Goddard Award

Dr. James Breckinridge
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April 01, 2003

Dr. James Breckinridge, Origins theme technologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., has been named the 2003 recipient of the International Society for Optical Engineering's George W. Goddard Award.

The award is presented each year to recognize exceptional achievement in optical or photonic instrumentation for aerospace applications. Breckinridge is being recognized for his cumulative work in several areas, including interferometry (using multiple telescopes to simulate a much larger telescope); corrective optics for the Hubble Space Telescope, optical sciences for NASA's Origins Program, and teaching optical system engineering at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif., for 15 years.

Breckinridge will receive his award on Wed., August 6, in San Diego, Calif., at an international symposium held by the International Society for Optical Engineering.

As Origins theme technologist at JPL, Breckinridge oversees the technology aspects of the program that seeks to answer two enduring human questions: Where do we come from? Are we alone?

During his previous employment at JPL from 1976 to 1999, he formed and managed JPL's optical sciences section. Breckinridge led the nationwide team of optical scientists and engineers that precisely determined the optical prescription of the flawed Hubble Space Telescope, and he then managed the JPL optics team that built the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 to correct the telescope. During his three-year assignment at the National Science Foundation, Breckinridge held two positions -- as program director for Advanced Technology and Instruments and program manager for the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.

Breckinridge received his bachelor's degree in physics from Case Western University, Cleveland, Ohio, and his master's and doctorate degrees in optical sciences from the University of Arizona in Tucson. He holds six patents for innovative optical systems and has authored many scientific papers. His numerous honors include serving as president of the International Society for Optical Engineering and being named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Breckinridge and his wife, Ann, live in Pasadena, Calif.

JPL/Charli Schuler (818) 354-3965

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