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International Day of Light: SPIE Now Welcoming Micro Grant Applications

On 16 May, the second International Day of Light (IDL) will celebrate the importance of light and light-based technologies to individuals and communities around the world. SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, supports IDL in part by offering Micro Grants towards SPIE Member activities that showcase and share the role that light plays in our lives. We are currently welcoming applications for 2019 IDL Micro Grants, with an application deadline of 15 December.

Last year, SPIE supported activities across the globe, from Cote D’Ivoire, Argentina, the US and India, to Thailand, Italy, the UK, and South Africa. Programs engaged students of all ages, professors, volunteers, and industry professionals, resulting in exciting, impactful events.

The Universit√© Laval SPIE Student Chapter in Quebec City built an interactive, informative, light-phenomena-sharing platform, La Terrasse Optique, in front of the Quebec Parliament, making their venture an educational, scientific, an…
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From Outreach Work to Child Care, SPIE Grants Offer Opportunity

SPIE Women in Optics program has been enhancing and promoting the personal and professional growth of women in STEM since 1998. With its proactive focus on diversity, inclusivity, gender equity, SPIE leverages its extensive networks as well as its funding programs to support professionals and students alike. Two Society grant programs, currently open for application, offer critical opportunities to SPIE Members, their communities, and their families.

The SPIE Women in Optics Activity Grant

Networking lunches and diversity coffee-and-cake meetups; hosting high-profile visiting speakers; recruiting and building groups of students interested in optics-focused careers; running STEM-engagement workshops aimed at young girls; and creating symposiums at which students interact with women professionals from industry and academia: these are just a few of the myriad activities that recipients of the SPIE Women in Optics Activity Grant have implemented around the world. The program, now entering…

#FacesofPhotonics: PhD Student Researcher, Brandon Hellman

Meet Brandon Hellman, this week's SPIE Faces of Photonics series feature. He is a student researcher at the University of Arizona, pursuing a PhD in Optical Sciences. Brandon and his colleagues work on making new lidar systems in Professor Yuzuru Takashima's lab. You can see a sample of their work on the College of Optical Sciences' YouTube page.


Enjoy the interview with Brandon!

1. Share your favorite outreach or volunteer story. 
Laser Fun Day is an annual optics outreach event put on by the Student Optics Chapter "SOCk" in the College of Optical Sciences. The event is free and open to the public, encouraging hundreds of children and adults of all ages to explore optics through hands-on demos put on by undergraduate and graduate students and faculty in the college. 
Demos include a laser maze -- Mission: Impossible-style -- a six-foot-long kaleidoscope, laser radios, solar telescopes, meter-wide Fresnel lenses that melt lava rocks into obsidian, infrared camera…

#FacesofPhotonics: Imperial College Postdoc, Hannah Williams

SPIE's Faces of Photonics series is sharing the story of Dr. Hannah Williams! Hannah recently graduated from Imperial College London after completing her thesis on ultracold molecules. She now continues that research as a postdoctoral research associate in the College's Centre for Cold Matter.

Along with her postdoc work, Hannah recently announced via Twitter that she is a Doctoral Prize Research Fellow for The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. This recognition is yet another achievement to add to her impressive list of accomplishments, which includes organizing and leading events such as the Gamechangers for Diversity in STEM event held recently at the Alan Turing Institute in London, of which SPIE was a sponsor.

Enjoy the interview with Hannah, and be sure to follow her on Twitter.


1. Tell us about when you first became interested in optics and photonics.

I did a summer placement in a lab during my undergraduate. This was the first time I'd ever used a …

#FacesofPhotonics and Women In Optics feature: IBM Researcher Anuja De Silva

Meet the SPIE Faces of Photonics star of the week, SPIE Member Anuja De Silva. Anuja grew up in Sri Lanka and now resides in Albany, New York, where she works as a materials and process researcher in the Semiconductor Technology Research division of IBM. Speaking of her work, she says, "I develop new types of materials and processes that help us to scale the size of computer chips... It's hardware development for next-generation semiconductor devices."

Anuja graduated with her Bachelor's in Chemistry from Mount Holyoke College and went on to get her Master's and PhD in Materials Chemistry from Cornell University. Upon conducting a research project for her undergraduate degree, she found her passion for optics and materials research.


"I have always been interested in math and science," Anuja shares. "The options in Sri Lanka, where I grew up, for a career as a research scientist were limited. My mother encouraged me to apply to college in the Unite…

#FacesofPhotonics: Raman microscopist at NASA JPL, Joby Razzell Hollis

This week on the SPIE Faces of Photonics series, we interviewed UK native Joseph Razzell Hollis. Joseph, better known as Joby, is a postdoc at NASA Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL), working on the Mars 2020 rover mission.

His passions include knitting, Raman microscopy, and advocating for greater LGBT+ inclusivity in STEM. He is a trustee for Pride in STEM, an award-nominated charitable trust that supports LGBT+ people in the STEM field. In addition, you can find Joby tweeting from the @LGBT_Physics account, which celebrates diversity in science.

Enjoy the interview with Joby, and don't forget to follow him on Twitter!

1. Tell us about when you first became interested in optics and photonics.

I studied chemistry as an undergraduate, and it was synthesising quantum dots that made me realise the incredible beauty of how atoms and light interact. It was all downhill from there! I quickly became a spectroscopist specialising in Raman microscopy.


2. Share your favorite outreach or volunteer sto…

Just Rewards

Beginning in 2020, three new annual SPIE awards will honor iconic leaders of optics and photonics, as well as those following in their footsteps: the second female winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics, a pioneer of image science, and a timely recognition of proactive diversity initiatives in optics. In a rapidly-changing research landscape, these awards showcase two of SPIE’s key technical communities, and reflect the Society’s ongoing commitment to advocate for diversity and inclusion on a global level.


Named for one of three 1963 Nobel Prize for Physics winners – and the second woman to win that accolade after Marie Curie – the SPIE Maria Goeppert-Mayer Award in Photonics recognizes outstanding contributions to the field of photonics and the development of innovative, high impact technologies. Goeppert-Mayer, who won the Nobel alongside J. Hans D. Jensen for proposing the nuclear shell model of the atomic nucleus, also outlined the possibility of two-photon absorption by atoms in h…