OSA Members Visit Legislators on Capitol Hill to Call for Increased Federal Funding for Science and



Media Contact:
Angela Stark
The Optical Society

OSA Members Visit Legislators on Capitol Hill to Call for Increased Federal Funding for Science and Technology

WASHINGTON, April 29 – Members of the Optical Society (OSA) are coming together from around the United States to Capitol Hill today to speak with their senators and representatives about science policy issues and express appreciation to Congress for recent appropriations actions in the Fiscal Year 2010 spending bill. The 22 OSA members will join more than 270 scientists, engineers and graduate students as part of the 15th annual Congressional Visits Day (CVD), sponsored by the Science-Engineering-Technology Working Group. CVD is held each year to remind legislators of the critical nature of research and development (R&D) funding and the impact that decreases in funding have on America’s ability to make important science and technology (S&T) advances.

OSA participants will visit more than 30 Capitol Hill offices, asking for legislators to support the highest possible funding levels in Fiscal Year 2011 for U.S. federal science agencies, including the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s core programs as promised by the America COMPETES Act. OSA members will deliver the message that the science community greatly appreciates the forward-thinking and essential investments in R&D in the America COMPETES Act and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. They will emphasize that maintaining America’s innovative edge in this field requires a continued commitment from Congress to invest in basic research.

“Economic growth is clearly a major goal and S&T plays a critical role by the jobs it creates and the advances made in all types of products and services,” said Elizabeth Rogan, OSA CEO. “In order to strengthen America’s commitment to research and development, significant federal investments are necessary. We thank OSA’s CVD participants for helping to relay this important message to legislators.”

By sharing personal stories of their experiences as professionals in the field of optics and photonics and by pointing out specific optics-related advances that have been discovered and developed as a result of federal funding, the participants hope to show the lawmakers that increased funding is an investment in America’s future. Advancements like the Internet, energy efficient lighting and the laser were all made possible by federal research funds.

In conjunction with Congressional Visits Day, OSA participated in two other events on Capitol Hill this week to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the laser, which is being celebrated in 2010 through LaserFest. Events included a laser exhibit with demos and a Congressional R&D Cauc briefing on Technology, Lasers and Jobs.

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 biness 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.