October 12, 2018

Employee spotlight: 18 questions with Shawn Gay

Employee spotlight: 18 questions with Shawn Gay

Zemax wouldn’t be what it is without its amazing people. This month, meet another of the outstanding Zemax team members, Senior Computational Physicist Shawn Christian Gay, who might just be working on “one patch to rule them all.”

  1. Briefly describe what you do all day.
    Every day at my home office (I work remotely from El Paso), I usually spend most of my time working on code in the OpticStudio ray tracing algorithms. This includes new feature development, bug fixes, and sometimes more basic research. Depending on the day, I may also spend some time discussing future work packages or computational physics topics with other Zemaxers.

  2. What’s the best thing about your job?
    There is a never-ending series of puzzles to solve.

  3. What’s the best thing about Zemax?
    We have amazing people here. Everyone is so smart and friendly. I love that I get to learn new things from everyone all the time and that we all collaborate when it comes to solving problems.

  4. What does your workspace look like?
    Nothing fancy. Just a two-monitor setup with a webcam so I can remote into meetings in the main office.

  5. Who is one of your role models and why?
    The physicist Richard Feynman is one of my role models because his life and writings inspire me to be endlessly curious about the way the world works and to keep a playful perspective toward life and my career.

  6. What’s been one of your proudest moments working at Zemax?
    One of my proudest moments is when I learned that two of my co-workers had published an article in SPIE Professional about how Zemax promotes gender equity in engineering. I know we still have progress to make, especially on the development side, but I am proud that our company values gender equity and that it is trying to make a difference.

  7. What do you like to do when you’re not at the office?
    Outside of work, I love spending time in the enchanting Desert Southwest. I dabble in photography and try to keep up with the latest and greatest digital photography developments. Another of my hobbies is container gardening.

  8. What inspires you?
    Probably the biggest thing that motivates me is solving problems and helping other people do their work more efficiently through software.

  9. Fill in the blank: I once met…
    Two of the cast members from the original Planet of the Apes film series, Dr. Cornelius and Dr. Zira. I was just a pre-schooler, but I thought it was so cool!

  10. Fill in the blank: I’d most like to have dinner with…
    My mom. I haven’t seen her in way too long!

  11. If you could pick one superpower, what would it be?
    A universal bug fix. One patch to rule them all.

  12. What is the song title that best describes your personality?
    ‘Round Midnight. (Because I can’t seem to get to bed before then.)

  13. Best Star Wars villain?
    Kylo Ren – He is so conflicted…

  14. How would you most like to time travel?
    I’ll choose a tesseract from A Wrinkle in Time.

  15. Greatest game in history?
    Trivial Pursuit

  16. Favorite app?
    Waze. That app has saved me so much time in traffic!

  17. Favorite cause?
    Union of Concerned Scientists: Science for a Healthy Planet and Safer World

  18. What are five words of advice for others in your profession?
    Be curious and have fun!


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