Was New Mexico Optics Pioneer
New Mexico optics pioneer Art Guenther has died after a short illness.
Guenther, who retired from his position as a research professor at the
Center for High Technology at the University of New Mexico last year,
was instrumental in establishing undergraduate and graduate degrees
in optics at UNM, an associate degree program at the Central New Mexico
Community College and a program for high school students at West Mesa
High School in Albuquerque.
Guenther helped form the New Mexico Optics Industry Association, and
worked hard to build a career training ladder for industry workers in
Guenther began work in New Mexico at Kirtland Air Force Base. When the
first laser was demonstrated at Kirtland in 1960, he was the only person
at the base with a background in optics. He went on to serve as chief
scientist at the Air Force Weapons lab for more than 15 years.
Guenther also worked as chief science advisor for three New Mexico Governors,
pushing them to develop Centers of Excellence to shape technology development
in the state. He was chairman of the International Commission of Optics
from 1999 to 2002, and was a member of the Russian Academy of Science.
In addition, during his long career, he also held positions at the Los
Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories.
Guenther is survived by his wife, two sisters, two daughters and two