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#FacesofPhotonics: Rising star Christopher Han

Christopher Han
SPIE’s #FacesofPhotonics social media campaign connects SPIE members in the global optics, photonics, and STEM communities. It serves to highlight similarities, celebrate differences, and foster a space where conversation and community can thrive.

This week on #FacesofPhotonics we are sharing the story of Christopher Han, a junior at Suzhou Singapore International School in China. Last year he presented his first academic paper at SPIE Optical Metrology in Munich. What an achievement! Check out his paper on the SPIE Digital Library.

We hope you enjoy his story.

Getting started

In June 2016, I started an internship at a local optics company for a summer project where I would help to design an application. I worked with Master's students to program an app using C++, an app that could calculate the optimum transmission sphere when the data of a test surface was provided. The students were also having discussions regarding being innovative and doing research so that they could publish papers. 

However, I didn’t give those discussions much thought because I saw myself as a high-school student who had no possibility of publishing a paper. When I first started that project, I had no experience with C++, but I read a book on it and pursued further research in order to gain the necessary knowledge. 

I learned the basics through these methods and taught myself to write simple codes; more sophisticated codes required extended research online. Using these skills, I began to help programming the application. 

Presenting at SPIE Optical Metrology

Entering the field

After the application was complete and functioning, I was captivated by the idea of contributing to the larger field of science. I wanted to share our findings through presentations and publications, based on our discussions that summer. I thought I would take a shot, so I submitted my first paper to an SPIE conference. 

I was pleasantly surprised when that paper was accepted. I presented my findings in the poster session at SPIE Optical Metrology in Munich, Germany, in June 2017,  my first international conference. At this conference, I was honored to explain to many experts and Ph.D. students how this application eliminated tedious manual calculations and allowed for increased efficiency and convenience. 

I felt like my actions had a purpose and I was able to express that through the conference.

Outside the conference in Munich

Networking in Munich

I met Professor Tiziani during the SPIE Fellows Luncheon in Munich. He was talking to other students while I was quietly listening. When he finished talking, I went up to him and introduced myself and the application I was presenting at the conference. 

He was intrigued and impressed that a new generation of SPIE is starting to grow. Subsequently, we talked about my future path and how SPIE is providing me with a great opportunity. 

 Together in Munich: Christopher with Hans Tiziani, SPIE Fellow and 
professor emeritus of the University of Stuttgart

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