Artech House’s authors won the 2024 Joseph W. Goodman Book Writing Award!

Last March 13th, SPIE and Optica have announced Ronald G. Driggers, Melvin H. Friedman, John W. Devitt, Orges Furxhi, and Anjali Singh as the 2024 recipients of the Joseph W. Goodman Book Writing Award for their Introduction to Infrared and Electro-Optical Systems, Third Edition. This award recognizes authorship of an outstanding book in the field of optics and photonics that has contributed significantly to research, teaching, or industry (1).

Artech House asked these award-winning authors to share their impressions of this great achievement, as well as their motivations for writing their book, the target audience, the most useful aspects of the book, the challenges of writing the book, and advice for other engineers who are considering writing a book. 

1. How did you feel when you found out your textbook was the winner? 

Well of course it is a great honour, and we were all thrilled to hear that.  It is a very competitive award and so it was very uncertain what the outcome would be.  With so many excellent scientific books being written, it is great to be acknowledged in this way. 

2. What advice would you give to other authors on how to write an award-winning book?

While I don’t think any of can claim to have set out specifically to write an award-winning book, I think we shared a common vision to write a good high quality book, and the case of a textbook one that is informative, accurate, and engaging.  Hopefully if one does a good job at that, then you can be satisfied with the result, and perhaps gave a greater chance that it will be recognized.   

3. What was your main motivation behind writing the book? 

Professor Driggers wanted to update and enhance the book with several new sections on his latest advancements in the field, and also wanted to generally update all the sections.
John Devitt: In particular for me, my goal was to update the detector section to photon-based calculations but also leave the existing infrastructure of equations for power based calculations that could still be referenced back seamlessly in subsequent chapters. That made it slightly more tricky, but I think I was able to accomplish that.   

4. Who is the main target audience for your book and what will they appreciate the most about the book?

The book caters to two main target audiences, Graduate and advanced Undergraduate Students studying Electro-Optical and Infrared Systems, as well as practicing professionals in that field. Those are the main two audiences that we can anticipate, but really anyone interested in Physics and Optics and especially Infrared Systems would greatly benefit from the textbook. 

5. What do you see your book being most useful for? 

Understanding the basic drivers and concepts of EO and IR systems. Having students and professionals gain that understanding is super helpful. They can then be able to design such systems and perform trade space studies to optimize performance. This can lead to better performing products such as night visions such as for night time driving, or even detectors for astronomical observations. 

6. How did you find the writing of the book? Do you have a specific process or are you quite methodical in your writing approach?

John Devitt: It’s a bit laborious!!  I wish I had some better method – maybe ChatGTP could knock it out faster!  But for me the most helpful is having an outline and being able to see ahead where you are going and understand how whatever step or section you are currently on fits in.  It also allows you to jump ahead to different sections when you get stuck or tired of some other section.  But still as a textbook there is a lot of fact checking and meticulous working of example problems.  I am a bit iterative in my approach as well.  I like to get something rough done and then come back and look at it and improve as I go along. 

7. What challenges did you face when writing the book and how did you overcome them? 

John Devitt: The most challenging thing that occurred for me was when I had contradictions or even errors in source material.  Then one needs to double and triple check things to be sure what is correct.

8. What advice would you give to other engineers who are considering writing a book? 

John Devitt: Well, you are going to need a good ergonomic chair and PC setup! And a lot of time and perseverance.  The right teammates are key, and of course I was very fortunate in this case to have excellent co-authors who put in a lot of work to make the book successful.  The teamwork and communication helps keep you motivated!  The responsible use of AI tools such as the Baird AI tool or of course ChatGPT is also something that can be really helpful.  Some of the modern tools can make excellent illustrations as well as the text sections etc.

9. What are you working on next?

John Devitt: We are continuing to use the website to post examples of the calculations and studies contained in the textbook and expand upon those.  We have a lot of people who get to know the book and the material by first seeing examples on the website.  I believe this contributes to the widespread interest in the book and fuels further applications of this knowledge. 

 I’m not sure if I am ready for another textbook just yet!! Though it is always possible.  There is talk of a Focal Plane Array course, so you never know!!

10. Can you share any thoughts/anecdotes/experiences etc from the book writing? (Each Author)

John Devitt: My favorite part was finding some good worked examples of EO and IR systems using the tools and equations from the textbook.  One can construct examples that each teaches the student a few points about the design space as they navigate through the chapters and wind up with a robust system. 

Anjali Singh: While working on the book I was also involved in designing systems for work. While many colleagues had their own spreadsheets, I found that the combination of book and associated website tools served as a great reference and helped alleviate confusion caused by conflicting results.


(1) SPIE Press release: Driggers, Friedman, Devitt, Furxhi, Singh are recipients of the 2024 Joseph W. Goodman Book Writing Award for Introduction to Infrared and Electro-Optical Systems, Third Edition (

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