Sheldon Zimmerman, a Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) laser engineer, demonstrates a laser typically used as an astronomy aid. It has a purple wavelength of 445 nanometers, and Zimmerman performed hazard analysis on the system. He recently received an international award from the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The honor, called the 1906 Award, commemorates the IEC's year of foundation and is presented to IEC experts around the world with recent work that advanced electro technology standardization and related technologies. (U.S. Navy photo by Elliott Fabrizio/Released)
DAHLGREN, Va.—The International Electronics Commission (IEC) recognized the work of Sheldon Zimmerman, a Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) laser engineer, in a ceremony at the National Electrical Manufacturers Association headquarters in Rosslyn, Va. on Sept. 12.
The honor, called the 1906 Award to commemorate the IEC's year of foundation, is presented to IEC experts around the world whose recent work has advanced electro technology standardization and related technologies.
Zimmerman's contributions to an international laser standards document helped establish international safety standards for laser manufacturing. The standards set safety guidelines and define how to classify lasers by parameters such as wavelength, power, beam size, pulse duration and frequency.
"It tells people what kind of eyewear they need to wear to protect themselves, how far away from a laser they would have to be without eyewear to be safe and other safety guidelines," said Zimmerman.
Publishing these standards required gaining international consensus. Zimmerman chairs an IEC working group which discusses measurements for laser safety.
"This document represented 25 years of work, but getting consensus had never happened," said Zimmerman. "A lot of people before me tried and had no success."
When Zimmerman stepped into the role of Chairman of the IEC's Laser Safety Committee, he zapped through the areas of international disagreement to achieve consensus on the document so that it could be published.
Zimmerman (center) stands with President of the U.S. National Committee of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Phil Piqueira (left) and Jim Matthews, Vice President IEC Central Office, during an award ceremony at the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. Zimmerman received the IEC's 1906 Award for his contributions to an international laser standards document helping establish international safety standards for laser manufacturing. (U.S. Navy photo by Elliott Fabrizio/Released)
It's a process Zimmerman completed for another years-in-development laser safety document for the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
"A lot of people have benefitted from his work," said Florence Otieno, senior manager for the International Standards Programs Telecommunications Industry Association. "They use his expertise to develop standards that benefit the laser industry."
Internationally, there were 170 nominations for the IEC Excellence Award. Zimmerman is one of only 38 selected to receive the honor.
"What's special about this award is that the nomination comes through your peers," said Phil Piqueira, President of the IEC's U.S. National Committee.
"It's a very prestigious award," said Otieno. "I know people that have been on the committee for 20 years and never received it."
"It's an honor, but I'm just doing what I do," said Zimmerman.
"I've known Sheldon a long time, and he is a very humble person," said Otieno. "He is also extremely hard working and has taken on a number of leadership roles."
In addition to serving on several laser safety committees-national and international-Zimmerman measures parameters of lasers used for naval combat systems, training and other military purposes for the U.S. Navy.