OSA and ACS Hold U.S. Congressional Briefing on Lasers



Angela Stark
The Optical Society

OSA and ACS Hold U.S. Congressional Briefing on Lasers

WASHINGTON, Dec. 2 – The Optical Society (OSA), in conjunction with the American Chemical Society (ACS) Science and the Congress Project, held a congressional briefing this week on new laser applications related to a wide range of U.S. national goals, from food safety to explosives detection. The briefing was held Tuesday at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C. with most in attendance from various U.S. congressional offices or federal administration offices.

The briefing was held as part of LaserFest, a year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of the invention of the first working laser. The briefing sought to raise awareness about the wide variety of laser uses including taking accurate measurements and characterizing hazardous materials, new technologies being developed for first responders in the field, forensic measurements, and methods to identify pathogens in foods and other consumer products.

“LaserFest provides the opportunity to raise awareness about the expanding role lasers are playing in homeland security, consumer product safety, and forensics,” said briefing moderator Thomas Baer, executive director of the Stanford Photonics Research Center and 2009 OSA president. “The laser was a direct result of federal funding, which produced considerable economic growth in the U.S. We urge Congress to recognize the critical importance of federal funding of scientific research and development and continue to fund it appropriately.”

Panelists included:

Jose Almirall
International Forensic Research Institute, Florida State University
Topic: Lasers for CBRNE Detection

Steve Rehse
Wayne State University
Topic: Lasers for Identifying/Characterizing Pathogens in Food/Beverages

Edward “Chip” Pollock
Sacramento County District Attorney Laboratory of Forensic Services
Topic: Crime Lab as an "End-User" of Lasers for Forensics

Richard Hark
Juniata College
Topic: Lasers for First Responders

EDITOR’S NOTE: Presentations will be made available on the OSA website.  For advance copies, please contact Angela Stark, astark@osa.org.

About LaserFest
LaserFest, a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the laser, emphasizes the laser's impact throughout history and highlights its potential for the future. Through a series of events and programs, LaserFest showcases the prominence of the laser in today's world. For more information, visit www.LaserFest.org.

About OSA
Uniting more than 106,000 professionals from 134 countries, the Optical Society (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.

About ACS
The American Chemical Society is a non-profit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 161,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.