IN MEMORY William R. Hunter 1924-2012 [ ] OSA
William R. Hunter, an OSA Fellow Emeritus and an internationally
renowned physicist at the U.S. Naval
Research Laboratory (NRL) from 1952
to 1980, died on 4 February 2012 in
Fairfax, Va., U.S.A., at the age of 87.
Hunter’s research in optics was essential for the development of innovative
rocket and satellite instrumentation that
recorded the first high-resolution images
and spectra of the Sun in the extreme
ultraviolet (EUV) and far ultraviolet
(FUV) wavelength regions. His papers
in scientific journals gained widespread
respect, and he mentored a generation
of scientists in the areas of thin films,
diffraction gratings and calibrations of
spaceflight instruments using synchrotron radiation.
Hunter earned an M.S. in physics
from the University of Florida in 1949,
following service in the U.S. Navy dur-
ing World War II. In 1953, he was hired
by Richard Tousey to join the Rocket
Spectroscopy Branch of NRL’s Optics
Division (later the Atmosphere and
Astrophysics Division and the Space
Science Division). He led the develop-
ment of highly reflective coatings for
the mirrors and gratings that were
used to image and disperse solar FUV
radiation, and thin metal filters that
were transmissive to the FUV radiation
and blocked the bright visible light from
At Bauch + Lomb, Hunter developed
large normal-incidence gratings that greatly
reduced scattered light, enabling improved
contrast in the recorded spectral images.
During his stint at the Luxell Corpora-
tion, Hunter developed thin aluminum
filters with improved stability. These filters
could survive the vibrations of the Saturn
V rocket launch of the Skylab spacestation,
which carried an NRL spectroheliograph.
In order to accurately evaluate these
gratings and filters, Hunter developed
an Optical Grating Reflection Evaluator
(OGRE) system and an improved light
source that became known in the EUV
community as the “Hunter lamp.”
Hunter retired in 1980, but he con-
tinued his work in optics as a defense
contractor until 2008.
An accomplished violist, for many
years he played as a member of the Fairfax symphony orchestra and in a string
quartet. He enjoyed traveling and made
numerous family trips to remote Cape
Breton Island, Nova Scotia, home to
his mother’s family. Hunter is survived
by his wife of 63 years, Dorothy; four
children; seven grandchildren and eight
This obituary was contributed by
OSA Fellow John Seely.
Guoguang Mu, an OSA Fellow and early pioneer of optics, applied
optics and optical instrumentation in
China, died on 12 April 2012 in Tianjin.
He was 81.
Mu was the founder and director of
Nankai University’s Institute of Modern
Optics, the first higher education institution in China to offer Ph.D. degrees in
both optics and optical engineering.
He served as president of the University
from 1985 to 1995.
Mu was born in Jinxi (now Hu Lu
Dao City), Liao Ning Province, in 1931.
He graduated from the physics department of Nankai University in 1952.
During his career, he made distinguished
contributions to white light information
processing and designed many novel
optical instruments. He also introduced
important concepts and technologies in
1931-2012 [ ]
pattern recognition, color image coding
and decoding, and color photogra-
phy. In 1983, he succeeded in using
black and white film to refract color
images. He was also well-known as the
co-author (with Yuan Lin Zhan) of the
book Optics, one of the most widely used
optics textbooks in China.
58 | OPN Optics & Photonics News