Mr. David Pollock

Associate Research Professor, CAO


301 Sparkman Drive
Optics Building
Room 444
Huntsville, AL 35899
Campus Map



David B. Pollock, born in Louisville, Kentucky, attended the University of Louisville where he received a BS (Physics and Math ) and a MS (Physics) degrees, 1960 & 1962. He continued his studies at the University of Arizona where he completed a MS (Optical Sciences) degree, 1983. He is currently an Associate Research Professor in the Electrical Computer Engineering Department and a Senior Research Scientist in the Center for Applied Optics at the University of Alabama Huntsville. His international recognition is for his efforts in Remote Sensor Calibration. He continues with an active role organizing, conducting an annual Calibration Meeting, CALCON, in collaboration with the Space Dynamics Laboratory, Utah State University since its inception, 1985.

His essential work element is founded upon a thorough understanding of Physics and Physics based optical frequency electromagnetic energy: thermal radiance, transmittance, reflectance, absorptance models. Propagation, and detection, estimation measurements and their uncertainty traced to the International System of Units. Mr. Pollock has collaborated with the Optical Technology Division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Physics Laboratory since 1964 for remote sensor radiometric calibration. The sensors spectral sensitivity span the vacuum ultra-violet, 300 nm, through the long wave length infrared, 30 ?m at optical powers and temperature from 2 to 6 million Kelvins. The national and international Remote Sensing community as a whole recognizes his work to establish data uncertainty relative to the International System of Units. Erroneous thinking had led the community to accept data precision as adequate to quantify global temperature trends. A Co-Investigator for Data Certification and Technology Transfer, Department of Defense, Mid-course Space Experiment (MSX) satellite, 1989 to 2005, his responsibilities included radiometric and goniometric performance of the 12 sensors on this sun-synchronous, 900 km altitude, satellite. His team's effort, 1 of the 8-Science teams, respectively, validated data reduction Level 1 to Engineering Units including error analysis and uncertainty traced to the International System of Units maintained by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM), France. The sensors, imagers as well as spectrographic imagers, span the 300 nm to 30-?m spectral range. The respective instrument operating temperatures and environment range 2K and the ambient conditions at a 900 km, nearly circular, polar orbit, includes passage through the South Atlantic Anomaly each orbit. Reconstructed Earth Centered Inertial pointing uncertainty rivaled State-of-the-art radars inside and outside CONUS. His work since 1962 has included cryogenic-optical sensor design, manufacture, assembly and radiometric calibration. His work included technical support to SMDC for the Airborne Surveillance Testbed Sensor. This responsibility includes design, fabrication, test, radiometric performance, radiometric calibration, data reduction and validation. For more than a decade this instrument provided the primary radiometric and goniometric signatures used for ballistic missile defense applications. His work with the design, development, construction and cryogenically cooled optics, sensors and their performance test began at North American Aviation, then Rockwell International, which is now Boeing. Most recent responsibility has been as the lead engineer/scientist to successfully design, and radiometric performance tests of a high altitude, high resolution, giga-pixel surveillance camera to provide information within a 7.6 km square footprint from an altitude of 7.6 km. A Patent is issued for the design.

Professor Pollock continues to collaborate with NIST, NASA, DOD, and NOAA remote sensing community to resolve calibration issues. Current issues continue to be the need to establish Climate Data Records of unprecedented accuracy, 0.01° K / decade, and the need to set an exo-atmospheric reference flux standard such as a Lunar flux scale.


  • M.S., Optical Sciences, University of Arizona, 1983
  • M.S., Physics, University of Louisville, 1962
  • B.S., Physics & Mathematics, University of Louisville, 1960

Honors & Awards

  • Sigma Pi Sigma since 1962
  • Senior Member SPIE

Recent Publications

  • Pollock, D. B., Statistical Calibration Relative to the Meter and the Triple Point of Water, Space Dynamics Laboratory, Utah State University, Proceedings CALCON 2015, August 24, 2015
  • Pollock, D. B., Statistical Calibration, Relative to the Triple Point of Water (Visibility, Signal, Noise per pixel per data frame), Space Dynamics Laboratory, Utah State University, Proceedings CALCON 2014, September 3, 2014. Pollock, D. B.,
  • Marathay, A. S., McCalmont, J. E., Radiant Sensing Calibration, Zero-to-infinity, Space Dynamics Laboratory, Utah State University, Proceedings CALCON 2010, August 23-26, 2010.
  • Marathay, A., J. McCalmont, D. B. Pollock, Radiometry, Wave Optics and Spatial Coherence, PIERS Proceedings, 485 - 488, July 5-8, Cambridge USA, 2010.
  • Pollock, D. B., Calibration Methods for Climate Change Measurement and Modeling, Space Dynamics Laboratory, Utah State University, CALCON, August 24, 2009.
  • Pollock, D. B. , G. Egnal, ArguSight A Constant 67 micro-r Resolution, Five Frames per Second Camera, Scalable from 4 MP to > 1 GP, 2009 Civil Commercial Imagery Evaluation Workshop, JACIE, March 31 - April 2, 2009.
  • Marathay, A. S., J. E. McCalmont, D. B. Pollock Radiometry, Wave Optics and Spatial Coherence, Chapter 7 Phase Space Optics, Testorf, Hennelly, Ojeda-Castañeda, Editors, McGraw-Hill, 2009
  • Pollock, D. B., A High Resolution and Frame Rate, Wide FOV Camera, Rocket City Geospatial Conference, November 18-20, 2008.
  • Richard L. Fork, Luke A. Burgess, Mike L. Davenport, Douglas M. Ramey, Patrick J. Reardon, David B. Pollock, Robert G. Lindquist, and Donna M. Fork Cohering of multiple polariton lasers for sensing applications, Proc. of SPIE Vol. 6952 69520I-1, Laser Source Technology for Defense and Security IV, 2008