Nelson E. Claytor Endowed Chair in Optical Sciences

Claytor Endowed Chair

In the optics and photonics industry, Dr. Nelson E. Claytor is regarded as an expert in design and fabrication of specialty polymer optics. From childhood, Nelson enjoyed mathematics and science, and has devoted his career to developing his scientific prowess and skills in optics.

Nelson received his undergraduate degree in physics from the University of California, Berkeley. He earned his Master of Science and PhD in atomic physics from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana.

His postdoctoral fellowship with E.O. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory included a role as the on-site coordinator for an experiment at the Brookhaven National Laboratory's Alternating Gradient Synchrotron, in Brookhaven, New York.

Today, Nelson is president of Fresnel Technologies Inc., a privately owned manufacturer of precision diamond machined and molded optics and a world leader in polymer optics. Headquartered in Ft. Worth Texas, the company was founded in 1986 by Nelson’s father, Dr. Richard N. Claytor, who moved to the vice president’s role after Nelson assumed the president’s position in 2002. Nelson's involvement with the company started as a pre-teen when he programmed the Commodore Vic-20 computers that controlled the homebuilt CNC milling machines used to cut molded lenses to the proper sizes and shapes.

Nelson is also Director of Optical Fabrication for Ascentia Imaging in Boulder, Colorado.

As a founding board member, Nelson has invested countless hours into Fort Worth's MedTech Incubator, later Tech Fort Worth, educating entrepreneurs and supporting numerous startup and young companies.He is also a member of the College of Science Advisory Council for the University of Texas at Arlington where he also funded the Richard N. Claytor Distinguished Professorship of Optics in their Physics Department, as a tribute to his father.

In 2021, Nelson was named a Fellow of The International Society for Optics and Photonics, SPIE. He is co-founder and vice president of the North Texas Section of Optica and has authored numerous scientific articles; he holds three patents.

Nelson’s personal interests include serving on the board of trustees for the Fort Worth Opera.

In recognition of Nelson’s many contributions to the field of optics as an inventor, entrepreneur, advisor and angel investor, his parents, Richard and Linda Claytor, established the Nelson E. Claytor Endowed Chair in Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona Wyant College of Optical Sciences.