Skip to main content

‘Have photonics knowledge, will share’

Knowledge is power. In the case of science, knowledge shared can also result in funding and other support for the R&D that will solve many of the world’s energy, healthcare, communications, and other problems. But ... how to go about sharing?
One of the mid-week television highlights over the last month has been the NOVA series on “Making Stuff,” with its four episodes on clean technology, smart materials, nanotechnology, and high-strength materials. “Stuff” refers to materials but the overlaps with light-based technologies -- optics and photonics -- are pervasive, and the show’s host, New York Times tech columnist David Pogue, is an effective ambassador for science. (Follow the link below to see the series on PBS.)
(From the series web page: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tech/making-stuff.html)
David is not the only science ambassador out there. I sat in on a meeting during SPIE Photonics West in San Francisco last month at which a group of 20 people went around the room telling what they have done in the past year to advance the understanding of science in their communities.

It turns out that 20 people generate around 60 different activities: funding summer interns in an R&D lab, giving a demonstration for a child’s second-grade class, lobbying state and national lawmakers, presenting an optics lesson to 2,400 Boy Scouts as part of a science badge, judging a community science fair -- it’s a long list.
It’s an inspiring list that provoked additional ideas about how to share photonics science with even more students and nonscientists. Several people in that room in San Francisco wanted to hear more about what others are doing, in order put those ideas to use themselves. We’re working on ways to share those stories.
If you are also looking for ideas, browse the list of brief reports on what winners of SPIE Education Outreach grants are doing -- buying optics kits and other supplies for classroom teachers, putting on a Laser Camp, presenting workshops on building solar-powered vehicles, getting involved in local science fairs, and much more.
What opportunities do you have to add to the understanding of science in your neighborhood or communitiy?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Hyperspectral imaging: defense technology transfers into commercial applications

Hyperspectral imaging, like many other of today's technologies, is moving into numerous commercial markets after developing and maturing in the defense sector. While still having a strong presence in defense applications, the technology is now used in chemical detection, food quality assurance and inspection, vegetation monitoring, and plant phenotyping, among others.
For more than 20 years, advances in spectral imaging have been on display at SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing (DCS). The applications and capabilities of the technology have grown along with the conferences and exhibition at SPIE DCS.
The ability to see more than what is visible to the human eye has always been one of the goals of optical engineers. With hyperspectral imaging they have been able to achieve just that. By accessing the entire electromagnetic spectrum, the sensors are able to image a specific wavelength range, or spectral band, and combine images of multiple bands into one 3D scene.
Through analysis,…

Changing life as we know it: the Internet of Things and cyber-physical sensing

More than 20 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices are expected to be deployed within the next few years; by 2025, this number may reach as much as 1 trillion connected devices. Driven by growth in cloud computing, mobile communications, networks of data-gathering actuators and sensors, and artificial intelligence with machine learning, this trend will change how we live our lives.
Already we live among connected devices in our homes.

Increasingly, we will also wear them, drive them, and monitor our health via the IoT. More businesses will build, ship, and design products and manage inventory with connected devices. In our cities, transportation, communications, and security infrastructure, and services such as water distribution and energy management will employ IoT applications. Farmers will find many uses, from insuring the health of livestock to increasing crop productivity.
Several conferences scheduled for SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing 2018 (15 through 19 April in Orland…

Glass ceiling, sticky floor: countering unconscious bias in photonics

Who knew … until last year: Three African-American women working — in obscurity — for NASA as mathematicians played a vital role in the mission that sent astronaut John Glenn into orbit around Earth and brought him back again, in 1962.
Publication of Margot Lee Shetterly's book Hidden Figures and the subsequent release of the acclaimed 2016 film brought the story of the important roles played by Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson to light for the first time for many.
While their story may have been little known for decades, struggles for opportunity and inclusion are familiar to many women and to members of under-represented minorities or other groups working to make a career in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) field.
Findings on gender equity from the latest SPIE Optics and Photonics Global Salary report indicate that women in the field lag behind men in salary and in representation in management and senior academic positions.
The cost…