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New resources, new grant winners to celebrate the International Day of Light 2019

The second International Day of Light (IDL) is only a few months away. Held on 16 May each year and organized by UNESCO, IDL is a global initiative for the continued appreciation of light and the role it plays in science, culture and art, education, and sustainable development. 
The broad theme of light allows many different sectors of society worldwide to participate in activities that demonstrate how the science, technology, and artistic expression of light can help achieve the goals of UNESCO — education, equality and peace.

SPIE enthusiastically supports the initiative and has created resources and funding opportunities to encourage local communities in creating their own celebration.

New Resources from SPIE Demonstrate the science of light with SPIE IDL Outreach Activities. In partnership with SPIE Student Chapters, and various optics educators, we have created a variety of lesson plans to engage young would-be scientists in the study of light. Lesson plans are available in multi…
Recent posts

#FacesofPhotonics: Opto-mechanical Designer Deven Patel

Salut! Meet Deven Patel, a graduate student at Universit√© Laval's Center for Optics, Photonics, and Lasers (COPL) in Quebec City who is also working as an opto-mechanical designer at Esterline Technologies Corporation.

Over the past two years, Patel was instrumental in Laval’s exoplanet-imaging project HiCIBaS, or High-Contrast Imaging Balloon System. He had two main jobs: designing a dynamic structure for the star-pointing system and front-end optics (telescope, etc.), and developing a passive-cooling thermal system for the back-end optics system. "Basically, I developed the mechanical solutions that were necessary for the other systems to function correctly and to perform the science of the mission," he explains.

The HiCIBaS project received quite a bit of media attention, and for good reason: "The project is beneficial for Canadian astronomy and instrumentation,” says Patel. “It’s a platform that can be used to conduct exoplanet-imaging missions in space-like con…

#FacesofPhotonics: Optics Expert and SPIE Course Instructor, Dr. Alexis Vogt

"Mama, can you teach us about optics?"

Dr. Alexis Vogt, Endowed Chair and Associate Professor of the Optical Systems Technology Program at Monroe Community College, is no stranger to hearing phrases like this in her home.

"Perhaps because of some brainwashing, my children love optics and have even mastered bedtime delay tactics with phrases like, 'How do you make glass, Mama?' My children are my motivation to work hard and create diverse opportunities for them to experience. What an amazing process to see the inquisitive mind of a child develop."

Vogt, too, was introduced to optics at a young age -- building a five-foot periscope for a 6th-grade science project -- and promptly fell for the field. She received both her B.S. and Ph.D. in optics from the University of Rochester, and, upon graduating in 2007, went on to design contact lenses for Bausch + Lomb.

As part of her busy schedule, Vogt teaches courses for SPIE. She will be at Photonics West next week …

#FacesofPhotonics: Jet Propulsion Lab Photonic Part Specialist Cheryl Asbury

When you think of ballet, photonics isn't usually the first word that comes to mind -- unless you know Cheryl Asbury, Photonic Part Specialist for Mission Assurance at JPL/Caltech, and an avid dancer since childhood. But pirouettes aren't Asbury's only passion: she'll be bringing more than 20 years of experience in laser development to SPIE Photonics West next week, teaching a course entitled "Improving Laser Reliability: An Introduction." That course, which she teaches alongside independent consultant Will Grossman, will cover a range of best practices, tips, and tricks that contribute to improved laser reliability.

"We use an interactive case study format that generates lively and informative discussions," says Asbury, who earned a BS in Applied and Engineering Physics from Cornell University and an MS in Applied Physics from the University of Michigan. "Laser designers, manufacturers, and end users have all found the course useful, as it ad…

#FacesofPhotonics: Professor of Medical Physics and Photonics West Hot Topics Speaker, Clare Elwell

Meet Clare Elwell, Professor of Medical Physics at University College London (UCL), Director of the Near Infrared Spectroscopy Group in the Biomedical Optics Research Lab, and global health advocate. Among her students, Elwell is highly regarded as an inspiration to others in her department and an excellent supervisor.

"When I mention that Clare is my supervisor," says UCL PhD Candidate Laura Katus, "people reliably respond along the lines of: ‘Really? She’s so cool!’ quite often followed by an ‘I want to be like her.’ What makes Clare such a fantastic supervisor, speaker, and group leader, is her ability to pitch whatever topic to precisely the right level, giving everyone in the room the feeling of being on eye level and an integral part of the academic mission."

Elwell has dedicated herself to thinking outside the box when it comes to applications of her technology, specifically how it they can address global health challenges. For the Gates Foundation-funded B…

#FacesofPhotonics: Hyungwoo Choi and Andre Kovach of USC's Armani Research Lab

Technical conferences such as SPIE Photonics West are known for giving students the opportunity to present their research, perfect their presentation and networking skills, and actively engage with other researchers in a setting outside of their university lab.

SPIE Fellow and University of Southern California Professor Andrea Armani, astrong advocate of student professional development,brings a group from her lab to SPIE Photonics West each year to present their latest work. You can follow along with the Armani Research Lab and their journey to the conference via Armani's Twitter feed.

Hyungwoo Choi, Rene Zeto, Dongyu Chen, and Andre Kovach will accompany Professor Armani to Photonics West for a series of six presentations. The list of talks can be found here.

Choi attended SPIE Photonics West last year as an author and was pleasantly surprised by the size of the audience that attended his talk, "My presentation was early in the morning on the last day of the conference. Also, …