In Conversation with David Lippman, the Michael Kidger Memorial Scholarship Recipient of 2022

Optical Solutions Editorial Team

Dec 16, 2022 / 3 min read

Meet David Lippman from the Institute of Optics at the University of Rochester, the 2022 recipient of the Michael Kidger Memorial Scholarship. The award was established to honor Michael John Kidger, a well-respected educator, design software developer and member of the optical science and engineering community. David interned with the CODE V team at Synopsys Optical Solutions in 2017 and was a Robert S. Hilbert Memorial Optical Design Competition winner in 2018.

We interviewed David to learn how he became interested in optics, his current research projects, and his future goals.

David Lippman Headshot

Q. How did you get interested in optics and what are you currently involved in?

A. I was always fascinated with cameras growing up. At the time, it never occurred to me that there was a whole world responsible for creating them, let alone that this was a career path I could follow.

I went to college at the University of Rochester intending to study physics or chemistry with no knowledge of the field of optics. Luckily for me, I found my way to the optics program soon enough. During my time as an undergraduate, I did a variety of optical engineering projects and internships, including a summer 2017 internship with the CODE V development team at Synopsys.

Upon graduating with my B.S. in optical engineering from the University of Rochester in 2018, I enrolled in the Ph.D. program at the very same institution. I love living in Rochester and working within the tight community at the Institute of Optics. I am currently in my 5th year of studies under the advisement of Duncan Moore, Greg Schmidt, and Julie Bentley. My research focuses on applying the new technology of freeform gradient-index optics to optical design for both imaging and illumination. I am planning on graduating next year in 2023, and from there who knows where I will end up. I am considering options in both industry and academia.

Q. What does receiving this award mean to you?

A. It is a great honor to be named this year’s Michael Kidger Memorial Scholarship winner. It means a lot to me. Michael Kidger is, of course, a giant in the field, although I feel equally honored being named alongside the many esteemed previous recipients. It is a testament to Tina Kidger and Kidger Optics that this scholarship has garnered the broad international attention it has and is always a point of recognition each year at some optics conference.

Q. What do you hope to do in the future?

A. With graduation on the horizon, I’ve lately been evaluating my immediate future for what I want to work on. Whether in industry or academia, I am trying to find the right overlap of my interest and skills with roles that serve to benefit others and society. I enjoy teaching, and I enjoy learning, about optical design as well as other fields. It is important to me to have a mentor and to continue to develop.

Also in the near future is the completion of a project I have been working on for the last couple of years on the lens design teachings of Rudolf Kingslake. Along with coauthors Julie Bentley and Duncan Moore, we are publishing the findings in a book through SPIE Press that is almost finished. We have been going through the problems Kingslake used to teach his lens design courses during the mid-20th century. The contents are very interesting from both academic and historical perspectives. I can’t wait to share the end result with the optics community. 

Q. What other hobbies or fun activities do you like to do in your spare time? Alternative: Where have you traveled, and where would you like to go?

A. I have too many hobbies for the number of hours in the day. I really like cooking and baking. I do woodworking and recently have gotten into printmaking. I have two adorable little dogs that I enjoy walking in the park with my fiancé Lindsey. We enjoy traveling. I had an especially memorable summer in 2016 in Munich, Germany. Places I haven’t visited that I would love to are Japan and Hawaii!

2022 Kidger Memorial Scholarship Winner, David Lippman

(Pictured left to right) Dr. Tom Brown, Director of the Institute of Optics at the University of Rochester;
Ms. Tina Kidger; 2022 Kidger Memorial Scholarship Winner, David Lippman; and Dr. Julie Bentley, Professor of Optics at the University of Rochester


We’d like to thank David for the interview and wish him the best in his future endeavors. Learn more about the Kidger Memorial Scholarship

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