Joseph W. Goodman received the A.B. Degree in Engineering and Applied Physics from Harvard University in 1958, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 1960 and 1963, respectively.

From 1958 through 1962, he was a Research Assistant in the Stanford Electronics Laboratories. During 1962 and 1963, he was a post-doctoral Fellow at the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment, under the auspices of the Royal Norwegian Society for Scientific and Industrial Research. He returned to Stanford in 1963 as a Research Associate, a position he held until 1967. In 1967 he was appointed Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1969 and to Professor in 1972. In 1988 he was appointed Chairman of the Department of Electrical Engineering and named the William E. Ayer Professor of Electrical Engineering. In 1996 he stepped down as Chairman and assumed the position Senior Associate Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs in the School of Engineering. For the duration of the Summer of 2000, he assumed the position of Acting Dean of Engineering. Prof. Goodman assumed Emeritus status on December 31, 2000.

During the academic year 1973-1974 he was a Visiting Professor at the Institut d’Optique, Orsay, France. In the summer of 1984 he was the William Girling Watson Traveling Scholar at Sydney University, Sydney, Australia.

Dr. Goodman has held a number of positions of responsibility in the optics community. For the Optical Society of America , he has served as a Traveling Lecturer, as Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Technical Group on Information Processing, as a member of the Technical Council, as a member and Chairman of the Fellows Committee, and as a member of the Ives Award Committee. He was elected a Director-at-Large of the OSA for the years 1972-1974; he also served on the Board of Directors ex-officio while he was Chairman of the Publications Committee, and while he was Editor of the Journal of the Optical Society of America (1978-1983). He was elected Vice President of the OSA for 1990, served as President Elect in 1991, President in 1992, and Past President in 1993.   He was appointed to a 3 year term on the Nominating Committee in 2004. 

For the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE), he was elected to the Board of Governors for the years 1980-1982, and has served as a member and Chairman of the Awards Committee, as a member of the Nominating Committee, and as a member of the Technical Council. He also served a second term as a Governor of the society for the years 1988-1990.  He is currently a member of the Fellows Committee.

For the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers , he chaired an ad hoc Committee on Optical and Electro-Optical Systems in 1969, has served on the Editorial Board of the Proceedings of the I.E.E.E. for the years 1979 and 1980, and was a member of the Education Medal Committee for 1987-1989.  In 2003 he was appointed for a 3 year term as a member of the Simon Ramo Medal Committee.


For the National Academy of Engineering he currently serves on the Charles Stark Draper Prize Committee, which recommends the recipient of the Academy’s highest award to the Board of Governors.

His international activities include membership on the program committees of a number of international optics meetings. He was a member of the U.S. delegations to the first and second U.S.-Japan Seminars on optical data processing and holography, and a member of the U.S. delegation to the first U.S.-U.S.S.R seminar on optical data processing. In 1979 he chaired the U.S delegation to the first U.S.-Argentina seminar on Fourier Optics. He was also a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the international journal Optics Communications. In 1984 he was elected to a three-year term as Vice President of the International Commission for Optics (ICO), a Commission affiliated with the International Union for Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP). He served as President of the ICO for a term 1988-1990, and Past President for 1991-1993.

He has served as a Director of several corporations, including Optivision, Inc. (for which he was a co-founder), ONI Systems (for which he was the founding Chairman of the Board), and E-TEK Dynamics. He has served on Technical Advisory Committees for several other small companies and venture capital firms.

Since retiring from Stanford, Dr. Goodman has spent a portion of his time on philanthropic activities, including administering the J.W. And H.M. Goodman Family Charitable Foundation.  He and his wife recently endowed a book-writing prize to be jointly awarded by the OSA and the SPIE.  He also currently serves as a Director of the OSA Foundation.


Dr. Goodman is a Fellow of the OSA, the IEEE, and the SPIE. In 1971, he was chosen recipient of the F.E. Terman award of the American Society for Engineering Education. He received the 1983 Max Born award of the Optical Society of America, for his contributions to physical optics, and in particular to holography, synthetic aperture optics, image processing, and speckle theory. He received the 1987 IEEE Education medal for his contributions to Electrical Engineering education, the 1987 Dennis Gabor Award of the International Optical Engineering Society (SPIE) for his contributions to holography, optical processing and optical computing,  and in 2007 he received the SPIE Gold Medal, the highest award of that society.  In 2011 he received the SPIE Rudolf Kingslake Medal and Prize for the best paper published in Optical Engineering in 2011.  From the OSA, he received the 1995 Esther Hoffman Beller Education Medal of the OSA, the 2009 Emmett Leith Award, and the 1990 Frederick Ives Medal, the highest award of the Optical Society of America. He was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 1987, and a Fellow of American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1996. Also in 1996, he received an honorary Doctor of Sciences degree from the University of Alabama. He was inducted into the Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame in 2012.  Also in 2012 he received an honorary Doctor of Sciences degree from the St. Petersburg (Russia) National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics.  He is the author of approximately 220 technical publications, including the textbooks Introduction to Fourier Optics (1968, Second Edition, 1996, Third Edition 2005), Statistical Optics (1985), Speckle Phenomena in Optics (2005), and (with R.M. Gray) Fourier Transforms: An Introduction for Engineers (1995). His first full-length publication (Proc. I.E.E.E., Vol. 53, 1688 (1965)) was named a “Citation Classic” by the Institute for Scientific Information.