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2021 JOSA A Emerging Researcher Best Paper Prize: editorial

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JOSA A Editor-in-Chief, Olga Korotkova, Feature Editor, Johannes Courtial, and members of the 2021 Emerging Researcher Best Paper Prize Committee announce the recipient of the 2021 prize for the best paper published by an emerging researcher in the Journal.

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It is our great pleasure to present the 2021 JOSA A Emerging Researcher Best Paper Prize to Roi Ronen for his publication “Plankton reconstruction through robust statistical optical tomography” [1]. The selection committee found the article to be exceptional and noted that it is highly representative of the Journal. In addition to the work’s significance, the committee was particularly impressed by the successful marriage of experimental optics and applied image-processing it represents, and by the difficulty of the much more general problem of 3D reconstruction from images taken in random orientations and at random scales that it successfully solves using an impressive range of techniques.

Plankton populate lakes and oceans across the globe and play an important role in eco-system dynamics. Since climate change is acknowledged as a global problem for scientists to address, the development of enhanced tools for large-scale investigation of plankton populations is timely and highly significant. Toward this goal, Roi Ronen and his colleagues developed and tested a method for the 3D reconstruction of plankton that enabled them to estimate the distribution of plankton type and size. Based on a large number of images of random plankton specimens in random orientations, their method reconstructs volumetric density maps of the plankton population. They tested the method on images captured in situ with the Scripps plankton camera, an underwater dark-field microscope, to demonstrate the ability to distinguish different plankton species.

The JOSA A Emerging Researcher Best Paper Prize was established in 2018 to recognize an early-career researcher (within five years of earning their highest degree) who is the first author of a paper judged to be outstanding. The 2021 committee consisted of JOSA A Topical Editors David Fischer, Irina Larina, and Antigone Marino and the 2020 prize recipient Allie Hexley and was chaired by JOSA A Feature Editor Johannes Courtial. The committee agreed that it was not an easy task to choose one article out of more than 200 papers published in JOSA A in 2021, covering a wide spectrum of topics in the field of classical optics, optical instrumentation, image science, and vision. The winner was ultimately selected after a careful review of the overall significance of the work and the quality of presentation. The impact of the study is already evident from the high number of times the paper has been downloaded.

Roi Ronen


Roi Ronen is a Ph.D. candidate at the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel. His research interests encompass the interface between machine learning and physics-based imaging and computational photography. He obtained his B.Sc. in 2019 and M.Sc. in 2021, both at the Technion Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. In 2021 he conducted a summer internship at Amazon Web Service - AI labs.

Congratulations to Roi on his selection as the winner of the 2021 JOSA A Emerging Researcher Best Paper Prize and our best wishes for his future scientific career!

Olga Korotkova
Editor-in-Chief, JOSA A
University of Miami

Johannes Courtial
Feature Editor, JOSA A and Chair, Best Paper Prize Committee
University of Glasgow

David Fischer
Topical Editor, JOSA A
NASA Glenn Research Center

Allie Hexley
2020 Prize Recipient
University of Oxford

Irina V. Larina
Topical Editor, JOSA A
Baylor College of Medicine

Antigone Marino
Topical Editor, JOSA A
Italian National Research Council


1. R. Ronen, Y. Attias, Y. Y. Schechner, J. S. Jaffe, and E. Orenstein, “Plankton reconstruction through robust statistical optical tomography,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 38, 1320–1331 (2021). [CrossRef]  


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  1. R. Ronen, Y. Attias, Y. Y. Schechner, J. S. Jaffe, and E. Orenstein, “Plankton reconstruction through robust statistical optical tomography,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 38, 1320–1331 (2021).

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