Bryan Maas '12
SENIOR OPTICAL ENGINEER, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY APPLIED PHYSICS LABORATORY
Industry – SPACE EXPLORATION
EDUCATION – MS AND BS, OPTICAL ENGINEERING (OPTICAL SYSTEMS DESIGN), UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER
Describe what you're working on and/or what you're most proud to have accomplished.
I am working on several telescopes and cameras. One of the telescopes will image the Sun in the extreme ultra-violet to study and characterize coronal mass ejections commonly associated with solar flares, which is important because of the impacts that they can have here on Earth. Another camera will operate on a lunar rover to analyze the spectral composition of various rock and soil types.
I am most proud of my work on the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART). The mission was a technology demonstration of our ability to impact a moving asteroid in space and a scientific investigation into how we could potentially deflect an asteroid that’s on a collision course with Earth. Years of hard work by many scientists and engineers across multiple organizations and disciplines resulted in the successful impact and the scientific knowledge gained.
You know we have to ask it. Do you have a favorite SLUH memory or teacher?
It’s hard to pinpoint one specific teacher who made my time at SLUH so memorable. Some of the teachers who helped shape my experience at SLUH would be: Dr. (Barb) Osburg, Mr. (Paul) Baudendistel, Mr. (Dan) Shelburne, Mr. (John) Mueller, Mrs. (Mary) Russo, Mr. (Don) Steingruby, Mr. (Patrick) Zarrick, Mr. (Scott) Gilbert, and Mr. (Steve) Nicollerat.
What topic are you most excited about in your industry?
Freeform optics. These complex geometries allow additional degrees of freedom in the design of optical systems that can have advantages such as improved imaging performance and miniaturization.
Think back to senior year. Was this the job you dreamed of? If not, then what?
I didn’t know what career I wanted to pursue – I was still trying to decide where I wanted to go to college and whether I wanted to study business or engineering. I guess I wanted to play in the MLB.
Who or what inspired you to pursue your field of interest?
Mr. (Paul) Baudendistel’s AP Physics course was my introduction into the field of optics and how light and matter interact. The fascinating demonstrations and strong SLUH education led me to pursue engineering.
What advice would you give to current students?
Nothing that is truly worthwhile in life comes without hard work and sacrifice – whether that be in your career, relationships, or personal goals.