Jan. 14, 2010 - Mark Kahan

What happens in New England stays in New England. Sometimes.

This after dinner talk will consist of a much abbreviated set of colloquial vignettes and true optical systems engineering and managerial take-always, based on embellished fact. Names & situations may have been intentionally changed to make a point, to avoid liable, and to protect the not-so-innocent. From the Navy through the Three Little Pigs, some details have, until now, generally remained secret, as they were rather embarrassing. Others, like many of the lessons Steve Benton taught us, just plain deserve restatement. We’ll highlight some of these universal lessons-learned, in ways intended to help us all.

Mark Kahan

Mark Kahan, Director of Electro-Optical Systems Engineering and Chief Electro-Optical Engineer at Optical Research Associates, has over 40 years’ experience in optical systems engineering. He is a recognized expert on opto-mechanical and thermo-optical engineering, as well as in optical materials and cost modeling.

Mark has served as lead optical systems engineer, chief engineer, or advisor on critical programs of high optical engineering content. This work has included successful contributions to the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), where he helped configure architectures and designs of survivable sensors from the boost phase through terminal defense, the cryogenic IR TEAL RUBY optical system, and the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) redesign effort, where he served as advisor to the HST Board of Investigation. His independent assessment work continued in support of the Chandra and Spitzer Great Observatories, and currently includes work on WISE, Exoplanet Missions (KI, LBTI, SIM, & TPF), new NASA initiatives like LISA & Con-X, and the James Webb Space Telescope.

Mark has received numerous awards and honors, including Itek Engineer of the Year, over half a dozen NASA Commendations, and awards for outstanding civic service. He received his undergraduate degrees from Tufts University and has an M.S. in Structural Mechanics from Northeastern University, where he has also completed graduate courses in advanced optics and management. He is a Fellow of SPIE, has authored over two dozen technical papers, and holds several US patents.

Mark is a reviewer for various OSA journals and for the SPIE journal Optical Engineering. He is a member of the PHOTON PBL National Advisory Committee, and chairs SPIE conferences on Integrated Modeling and Performance Predictions and on Lessons Learned. Mark has also served as Secretary, Vice President, President and Chairman of the Executive Council of the New England section of OSA, and as Director of the Massachusetts Engineers’ Council.


DINNER reservations are required by noon, January 11, 2010, the Monday of the meeting. MEETING ONLY reservations are required by noon, January 14, 2010, the day of the meeting.

Please make reservations online. Reservations may also be left on the answering machine at 617.584.0266. We no longer have an email address for reservations due to SPAM. When making reservation requests, please provide the following information:

  • DINNER AND MEETING or meeting only
  • Name(s) and membership status
  • Daytime phone number where you can be reached (in case of change or cancellation)


Best Western TLC in Waltham (Map to TLC).

Networking—5:45 PM, Dinner—6:30, Meeting—7:30 PM.


Dinner will include --- and coffee, tea, or milk.

Vegetarian option available on request

Dinner Prices:

Members and their guests $25.00 each
Students $15.00
Non-members $30.00 (See NOTE Below)



General Information on NES/OSA Meetings

Cancellations and No-shows:

If the meeting must be canceled for any reason, we will try to call you at the phone number you leave with your reservation. Official notice of cancellation will be on our answering machine.

We have to pay for the dinners reserved as of the Tuesday before the meeting, so no-shows eat into our cash reserve. If you will not be able to attend, please let us know as early as possible. Otherwise, no-shows will be billed.

Membership Rates:

Regular members $15.00
Student members free




NOTE: The extra $5.00 of the non-member dinner fee can be used toward membership dues if the nonmember joins and pays dues for the current year at the meeting.