Kingslake was born in London, England in 1903 as Rudolf Klickmann. The latter is in all probability a re-transcription from Cyrillic of the traditional German-Jewish "Glückmann" meaning "lucky man". Kingslake studied optical design at the Imperial College of Science and Technology, under the eminent optical designer and theoretician Alexander Eugen Conrady, earning a master's degree, subsequently marrying Professor Conrady's daughter, Hilda. In 1929, Kingslake was invited to come to the United States to teach at the University of Rochester, where he founded the Institute of Applied Optics, now known as The Institute of Optics. In 1937, Kingslake became the head of Optical Design department of Eastman Kodak while continuing his teaching at the university.
In 1958, Kingslake and wife Hilda edited an unfinished manuscript by Conrady and published a sequel to Conrady's book, Applied Optics and Optical Design.
Since 1974, SPIE has awarded the Rudolf Kingslake Medal to recognize the most noteworthy original paper published in the society's journal, Optical Engineering.
Books by Kingslake
- Applied Optics and Optical Engineering
- Lenses in Photography: The Practical Guide to Optics for Photographers
- Lens Design Fundamentals
- A History of the Photographic Lens
- Applied Optics and Optical Design, Part II by A.E. Conrady, edited by Hilda and Rudolf Kingslake
- Thompson, Brian (September 2003). "Obituary: Hilda Gertrude Kingslake/Rudolf Kingslake". Physics Today. 56 (9): 73–76. doi:10.1063/1.4776723.
- The Rudolf Kingslake Medal and Prize of the SPIE
- 1973 - Frederic Ives Medal by the OSA
- A comprehensive history of the first 75 years of the Institute of Optics