Optical Society of America Names 2008 Advocates of Optics



Angela Stark
Optical Society of America

Optical Society of America Names 2008 Advocates of Optics

European Commissioner Viviane Reding and Photonics Unit Head Thierry Van der Pyl honored for contributions to photonics in Europe


Alferness and Advocates of Optics
OSA President Rod Alferness (left) talks with Viviane Reding, European commissioner for information society and media (center), and Thierry Van der Pyl, head of the European Commission’s Photonics Unit (right), after recognizing them as the 2008 OSA Advocates of Optics.

BRUSSELS, March 19 –Viviane Reding, European commissioner for information society and media, and Thierry Van der Pyl, head of the Commission’s Photonics Unit, are being recognized today by the Optical Society of America (OSA) as the organization’s 2008 Advocates of Optics. Reding was selected as this year’s advocate for her extraordinary vision in supporting and establishing a Photonics Unit within the European Commission. Van der Pyl is being recognized for his leadership within the Photonics Unit.

“Commissioner Reding and Mr. Van der Pyl have worked diligently to bring photonics to the forefront of technology investment discussions within the European Union,” said Rod Alferness, OSA president and chief scientist, Alcatel-Lucent, Bell Laboratories. “OSA is proud to honor these international leaders for their superb contributions to the science of light in the public policy realm.”

The Photonics Unit was launched in January 2007 as a result of efforts by Photonics 21, a platform within the Commission designed to promote investment in photonics research and development in the European Union. The Photonics Unit defines its mission as making “Europe the best in photonics research and the best in translating those results into real innovation.” Their aim is to be a catalyzing stimulus in the formation of the needed critical mass of quality research at the European level as well as at the national level.

As commissioner, Reding has been a visible presence and supporter for technology funding in general and photonics funding, specifically. Under her leadership, the European Commission allocated more than 90 million euros to funding basic photonics technologies from 2007-2008. Van der Pyl was chosen as the head of the Photonics Unit because of his extensive experience in the European Commission, including heading the units of High Performance Computing, Microelectronics, and Future and Emerging Technologies.

To be recognized as an OSA Advocate of Optics, a public official must have a record consistent with his or her support of science, optics and photonics and be an enthusiastic advocate for science policy issues, with particular regard to the advancement of the science of light.

Alferness will present Reding and Van der Pyl with trophies in a ceremony today in Brussels.

About OSA

Uniting more than 70,000 professionals from 134 countries, the Optical Society of America (OSA) brings together the global optics community through its programs and initiatives. Since 1916 OSA has worked to advance the common interests of the field, providing educational resources to the scientists, engineers and business leaders who work in the field by promoting the science of light and the advanced technologies made possible by optics and photonics. OSA publications, events, technical groups and programs foster optics knowledge and scientific collaboration among all those with an interest in optics and photonics. For more information, visit www.osa.org.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Photos of the presentation ceremony are available upon request.