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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…
Recent posts

#FacesofPhotonics: University of Cambridge Research Associate, Jonghee Yoon

SPIE's #FacesofPhotonics is sharing the story of Jonghee Yoon. Jonghee is a Research Associate at the University of Cambridge in Dr. Sarah Bohndiek’s VISIONLab. He is originally from South Korea, and his current research involves using hyperspectral imaging to identify and diagnosis oesophageal cancer.
Enjoy the interview with Jonghee.

1. Tell us about when you first became interested in optics and photonics. When I was a high-school student, I had a great opportunity to attend a summer camp held in South Korea's Postech University. The camp program introduced various research areas, and provided lab tours to students.

One of laboratories I visited was doing biochemical research. The researchers showed me microscopic images of a chicken eggshell captured by scanning electron microscopy. At that time I had no idea about optics and microscopy, but I was hooked on the microscopic images. Since then I have become interested in microscopic imaging and optics. I think that experi…

#FacesofPhotonics: Biophotonics Researcher at CSIR, Rudzani Malabi

SPIE's #FacesofPhotonics is sharing the story of Rudzani (Mandy) Malabi. Rudzani is a biophotonics research student in the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) National Laser Centre. She is from Thohoyandou, a town in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. Originally, Rudzani studied virology and discovered her interest in optics and photonics during her doctoral degree.

She has always been an active member of the CSIR SPIE Student Chapter, and is currently vice president.

Enjoy her interview!


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

I first heard of optics and photonics when I applied to do my doctoral degree at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). I was fascinated by how light interacts with biological materials. I come from a virology background, but wanted to know more about light science. What better way to learn than actually doing a research project that involves optics and photonics!


2. Describe a memor…

#FacesofPhotonics: STEM Advocate & Research Associate, Dr. Jess Wade

SPIE's #FacesofPhotonics is sharing the story of Dr. Jess Wade, research associate at Imperial College London, SPIE Early Career Professional,collector of graphic T-shirts with a positive message, and longtime advocate of underrepresented communities in the STEM field.

When she's not studying plastic electronics or helping to promote and organize amazing outreach events such as Pride of Physics, she writes and edits Wikipedia pages of female scientists, showcasing their contributions to the field. This project, and others like it, are part of her overarching mission to attract more young girls to the sciences.

Her most recent project involved raising over £20,000 to buy a copy of Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong and the New Science that's Rewriting the Story by Angela Sainifor every secondary state school in the United Kingdom (and included a fun "Thank you" message from a certain Daniel Radcliffe). One look at her Twitter feed and you'll wonder how she…

#FacesofPhotonics: Rising Researcher Alina Zare

SPIE's #FacesofPhotonics is sharing the story of Alina Zare, Associate Professor at the The Machine Learning and Sensing Lab at the University of Florida. Dr. Zare was recognized as a 2018 Rising Researcher for her work in Electronic Imaging & Signal Processing, at the SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing conference.

This program recognizes early career professionals who conduct outstanding research in the defense, commercial, and scientific sensing, imaging, optics, or related fields. If you want to learn more about the program, the details are here.

Enjoy the interview with Alina!

1. Tell us about when you first became interested in optics and photonics. In my senior year of  undergraduate studies in computer science, I was taking an Image Processing elective.  I really enjoyed the course, and the professor for the class, Dr. Gerhard Ritter, encouraged me to do some undergraduate research.  
So I joined Dr. Paul Gader's research lab as a undergraduate researcher where I he…

Making Her SMART Marks

Winning the inaugural $75,000 SPIE-Franz Hillenkamp Postdoctoral Fellowship in Problem-Driven Biophotonics and Biomedical Optics has had its fair share of notable impact on Haley Marks' life and profession. The fellowship, which supports and provides opportunities for translating new technologies to clinical practice for improving human health was awarded for the first time in January 2018 at SPIE Photonics West.

"I actually found out that I won in December, just as I was getting ready to fly home for the holidays," she recalls. "I was packing when I got a call from Rox Anderson, the director of our center, the Wellman Center for Photomedicine, congratulating me, and I got all flustered. I swung by the lab on the way to the airport to celebrate the news with my mentor, Dr. Conor Evans, and our colleagues, and ended up missing my plane!"

The missed flight has been more than worth it for Marks, who has been at the Wellman Center since February 2017, working with…

Lighting Their Way

It's a feast for the science-curious senses: in June, two cohorts of two dozen middle-school girls came together for the free, STEM-focused, four-day-long Physics Wonder Girls Camp sessions organized by Dr. Roberto Ramos, associate professor of physics at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.

The girls studied the properties of light, built telescopes, designed and engineered submersible robots, and learned about scientific professions directly from the experts: nanoscientist and Chair of Bryn Mawr College's Physics Department Dr. Xuemei Cheng; INTEL software engineer Dr. Marisa Bauza-Roman; and several female food scientists from Puratos, a global company working with bakers and chocolatiers to assess the best ways to improve their products, all came and talked about their professions, answering questions and interacting with the campers. Plus, they got to be on TV!

The camp was initially inspired by Dr. Ramos' daughter Kristiana who expressed interest in the s…