International Expert on Adaptive Optics Joins New Mexico Tech, Feb. 10, 2006

Dr. Robert Q. Fugate

by George Zamora

SOCORRO, N.M., Feb. 10, 2006 – An internationally renowned expert on adaptive optics and directed energy research has joined the research ranks of New Mexico Tech.

Dr. Robert Q. Fugate recently accepted the full-time position of senior research advisor with New Mexico Tech’s Office for Research and Economic Development, after retiring from more than 35 years of federal civilian service with the U.S. Air Force.

As an esteemed member of the Air Force’s scientific and professional cadre of senior executives, Dr. Fugate most recently served as senior scientist for atmospheric compensation at the Starfire Optical Range, a specialized research division of the Directed Energy Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque.

At the Starfire Optical Range, Dr. Fugate directed a research program on atmospheric propagation physics, which includes atmospheric compensation using laser-guided star adaptive optics and the acquisition, tracking, and pointing of lasers toward Earth-orbiting satellites.

The ongoing research program Dr. Fugate headed also involves developing sensors, instrumentation, and mount control of large-aperture, ground-based telescopes, such as the one under construction at New Mexico Tech’s Magdalena Ridge Observatory.

The systems developed at Starfire Optical Range have received worldwide acclaim from the astronomy community; and, its associated research group is widely recognized as a leader in atmospheric compensation for large ground-based telescopes.

“I am very excited about joining New Mexico Tech, and am looking forward to working with Tech’s outstanding university staff and students to advance the use of adaptive optics in astronomy and other areas of directed energy research,” Dr. Fugate said.

Dr. Fugate has received numerous national awards, including, in 2003, the first Distinguished Presidential Rank Award for Senior Professionals in the Air Force, putting him in the top one percent of senior civilian executives in federal government. He also is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and has written and delivered many invited articles and research papers.

In addition, Dr. Fugate has chaired and served on organizing committees for numerous research conferences on adaptive optics and directed energy topics.