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Farewell as Colin Sheppard retires

July 2017 Number 112

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Farewell as Colin Sheppard retires

A pioneer of optical imaging and microscopy


Our colleague and ICO collaborator for many years, Colin Sheppard will retire on the 30 June, the eve of his 70th birthday.

Colin is a renowned scientist and a pioneer in key areas of optics, imaging, and microscopy. He has seminal contributions as in the study of the fundamental limitations of the resolution and image formation properties of optical microscopes for which he demonstrated that it is necessary to consider the foundations of diffraction theory with research interest as well in confocal and multiphoton microscopy. He has discussed throughout many of his seminal papers the most important components of an optical imaging system -the lens- and to find the key role of Fourier analysis in the theory of coherent and incoherent image formation. To have an idea of the impact of his contributions one of his pioneering papers in microscopy resolution has the order of 2900 cites. Colin is currently at the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT), Genoa, Italy and will return to Australia where he will continue, after his retirement, in participating in conferences and other related activities.

Colin served as ICO vice-president, 1999–2000. He has always been active in ICO initiatives – he was lecturer at the Winter College in Optics 2017, ICTP, Trieste, Italy with key lectures and the opening the conference on the foundations of optical microscopy.

IIT organized a day of celebration to mark his retirement, his birthday and 40 years since the first ‘confocal’ results in Oxford. The day entitled “Colin Sheppard: Forty Years of Confocal, Seventy Years of Science” was held in the Palazza Ducale in Genoa on 30 June with many of his friends and colleagues participating.

We wish him a fruitful retirement. More information:, or

Maria L Calvo, ICO past-president (2011–2014)