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Showing posts from November, 2015

Improve and carry on, use the fear: advice from women in STEM

SPIE Women in Optics 18-month planner for 2016-2017. Interest in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) can lead to a wide variety of careers. A few examples: exploring photonic nanostructures that can improve the efficiency of solar energy generation observing micro-organisms in the Arctic ice to learn more about lifeforms of all sorts developing optical systems for noninvasive diagnosis of tumors inside the body assessing the radiation hazard to be incurred by humans travelling to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. The paths to all careers include some challenges. For anyone looking at a career in STEM, the latest edition of a free annual publication offering insights on those paths has just been released. The 12th edition of the Women in Optics Planner published by SPIE contains more insights from more than 30 women discussing their interests and occupations and offering advice. Among their stories: Viera-Gonzalez Perla Marlene Viera-Gonzalez

Six dramatic advances in solar energy

Harvesting, collecting, and deriving usable energy from the Sun and other sustainable sources for people around our planet has made important leaps forward of late. Whether it is summer or winter in your part of the world, that’s excellent news for our future energy needs. The dual nature of light, recently demonstrated in an image from the Carbone group at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, and featured as Figure 1 in a review paper in the Journal of Photonics for Energy : "Energy-space photography of light confined on a nanowire simultaneously shows both spatial interference and energy quantization." doi:10.1117/1.JPE.5.050997 An open-access article in the Journal of Photonics for Energy co-authored by nine international experts* details some of those advances. Here’s a short list from their review of the state of the art, titled "The role of photonics in energy." 1. Making cheaper and more efficient solar cells Today’s solar cells a

Speaking out about climate change is urgent in our ‘crucial century’

The approach of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in early December has global leaders from every sector thinking about technology opportunities to help meet greenhouse-gas-emissions reduction goals in an effort to mitigate climate change . Photonics at work: A schematic illustration of electromagnetic characterization and detection of pollutants on a sea surface, in an SPIE Newsroom article by researchers at Lab-STICC, CNRS, ENSTA Bretagne . Photonics technologies play an important part in enabling and driving applications that support sustainable development and the green economy. Researchers, engineers, and developers in the optics and photonic community are continually finding new ways to enhance our lives with these technologies. But there is another sort of opportunity for the photonics community to take up: speaking out about the urgency to take action, particularly in the face of climate-change skepticism or denial. UK Astronomer Royal S