Skip to main content

Help design the future of photonics funding ... and make "photonics" a household word

As pervasive and vital as photonics technologies are in industry, healthcare, communications, entertainment, and elsewhere in modern life, the term “photonics” is not exactly a household word.

More to the point, it is not a term that is immediately understood in many houses of government, where decisions are made about which research, innovation, and education programs to fund and how richly to fund them.

Yet, programs benefit more when policy makers and budget writers understand the importance of the technologies and the scope of the industry.

Information about the size of the photonics industry and the influence of photonics science, in the form of comprehensive national and regional reports, has been a powerful tool for helping to communicate with governments about the importance of photonics funding.

In the past few years, reports have surveyed industry activity, market trends, and opportunities regionally in the European Union and in Asia, while additional reports focus on Canada, Sweden, Germany, Scotland, Japan, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and other areas.

Universally, these studies illustrate the potential of photonics to solve many challenges faced around the world -- developing economical green energy, managing healthcare costs and quality, ensuring security in cyberspace, and much more.

Published in 1998, the current United States report, Harnessing Light, is in need of updating. As useful as it has been, enormous progress has been made during the past 12 years in photonics sciences and technologies.

This month, the U.S. National Academies, through its operating arm, the National Research Council, and SPIE are offering an opportunity for in-person comment on the updating the Harnessing Light study.

Erik Svedberg, Senior Program Officer with the National Academies, and SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs will moderate a panel on "The Future of Photonics," on 27 January, 8:45 to 9:30 a.m., at Moscone Center in San Francisco during SPIE Photonics West. There is no charge to attend, but participants must obtain entry badges at the Photonics West registration desk. More information about the Harnessing Light forum is available online.

So here’s your chance. Help design the future, and maybe even make “photonics” a household word.

And in the meantime, get inspired by the words of Charles Townes, Mike Dunne, Kumar Patel, Margaret Murnane, and other industry and research leaders who are using photonics to shape the future:

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

#FacesofPhotonics: Optimax Director of Technology and Strategy, Jessica DeGroote Nelson

SPIE Senior Member Jessica DeGroote Nelson works as the director of technology and strategy at Optimax Systems in Ontario, New York. She also teaches as an adjunct assistant professor at The Institute of Optics at the University of Rochester (UR), and is a Conference Chair for SPIE Optifab 2019. 
Nelson also teaches Optical Materials, Fabrication, and Testing for the Optical Engineer at SPIE conferences. This course is geared toward optical engineers who are hoping to learn the basics about how optics are made, and ways in which to help reduce the cost of the optics they are designing. It is also offered online.
"Optical tolerancing and the cost to fabricate an optic can be a point of tension or confusion between optical designers and optical fabricators," Nelson says. "I teach this course to help give optical designers who are new to the field a few tools in their toolbelt as they navigate tolerancing and purchasing some of their first designs. One of the things I lov…

Taking a Deep Dive into the World of Biophotonics

SPIE Student Member Gavrielle Untracht is pursuing her PhD at The University of Western Australia. She had the chance to participate in the 9th International Graduate Summer School in Biophotonics this past June on the island of Ven between Sweden and Denmark.

At the school, sponsored by SPIE, invited experts from around the globe gave extended presentations on topics like tissue optics, strategies for cancer treatment using lasers, and entrepreneurship in photonics. Attendees also had the opportunity to present their current research projects, results, or ideas. Gavrielle shares her experiences of the summer school with this community in the following guest blog post.


I recently returned from a week of great discussions and beautiful weather at the 9th Biophotonics Summer School on the Isle of Ven, Sweden. This experience, made possible (in part) by SPIE, was an invaluable opportunity for networking and a deep dive into the world of biophotonics that I would highly recommend to any…

#FacesofPhotonics: Applied Optics Master's Student Christiane Ebongue

Bonjour! Meet Christiane Ebongue, graduate student at Delaware State University (DSU). Christiane is working on a master's degree in applied optics with a goal of achieving a PhD in Physics. When she is not spending time in the lab —something she says she loves so much, she would even want to be there on her birthday! — she enjoys her role as president of her university's SPIE Student Chapter.

Ebongue moved to the United States from Cameroon for college, although she only spoke French at the time. Learning to speak a new language while learning a new field of science was intimidating, she says, but this feat just speaks to how tenacious of a person Ebongue is.

Another example of this steadfast dedication and passion lies in her photonics advocacy work. After defending her thesis in the morning, Ebongue hopped in her car and drove from Delaware to Washington D.C., to participate in Congressional Visits Day, without missing a beat!

"It was awesome, I don't regret it at …