The Optical Society Blog

The Importance of Science Communication

By Aaron Blanchard, Emory University, USA | Posted: 11 October 2017

Science communication plays an increasingly important role in our society, but today’s PhD students have few formal training opportunities. The Communicating Science workshop for graduate students, formally known as ComSciCon, was created to help fill this gap by teaching science communication skills to graduate students from across a wide variety of scientific disciplines in an intensive four-day experience. ComSciCon is nonprofit and student-run, organizing workshops on both the national and local level. At these workshops, students convene with science communication experts and learn via a combination of hands-on creative activities, panels, and small-group and one-on-one discussions. The workshop is funded by a combination of academic entities (MIT, Harvard, UC-Boulder), scholarly societies (AAS, ACS, and OSA) and media organizations (Institute of Physics publishing, Science, astrobites, and HHMI Tangled Bank studios). At the national workshop, all 50 students’ travel and housing was fully funded to promote a more inclusive representation.

Read the full post


Day 2: Small Eyes & Smart Minds Incubator

By Sandra A. Gutierrez Razo, University of Maryland | Posted: 6 October 2017


Yesterday during the Small Eyes & Smart Minds “Sensors & Systems” session experts discussed novel imaging techniques and hardware. 

The remainder of the Incubator showcased some human-centric imaging applications and discussed processing solutions. 

Read the full post


Day 1: OSA Small Eyes & Smart Minds Incubator

By Sandra A. Gutierrez Razo, University of Maryland | Posted: 5 October 2017

The Small Eyes & Smart Minds Incubator is all about new imaging techniques, the computational work that makes them possible and the exciting applications this work can engender.

 
The hosts of this Incubator, Rama Chellappa, University of Maryland; Francisco Imai, Apple, Inc.; and A
shok Veeraraghavan, Rice University are seeking fundamental advances and new solutions to problems that are moving targets as consumer and industry demand for imaging increases. 

Read the full post


Creating Thought Provoking Presentations at the 2017 Siegman School

By Maria Pawliszewska, Wroclaw University of Science and Technology, Poland | Posted: 2 October 2017



Writing articles and giving presentations is the essence of scientific work. To make science is to communicate our findings to our peers and the public. But how do we do it in an efficient, understandable and friendly manner? This is a serious problem that a lot of scientists, young and old, struggle with. At the Siegman School on Lasers this year, in León, México, we had the opportunity to attend Jean-luc Doumont’s presentations on 'Structuring your Research Paper' and 'Making the Most of your Presentation'. Doumont’s presence as a speaker at the summer school was more than relevant, since he had finished his PhD under the supervision of Anthony Siegman! This made most of the audience interested even before he started his formal presentation. It is also not that common to hear a laser scientist talk about soft skills. 

Read the full post


Optical Interconnects in Data Centers: What’s Next?

By Stewart Wills | Posted: 28 September 2017

img_fio17_Taubenblatt_blog.jpg

As technology advances at an ever-increasing pace, the potential applications for optics continue to grow and fuel new discoveries. To highlight the breakthrough work being done in optics, the committee invited nine "Visionary Speakers" to share their knowledge. One of them, Marc Taubenblatt (above) of IBM Corp. sketched out some of those frameworks, particularly for data centers.

Read the full post


Quantum Technology: The Business Side

By Stewart Wills | Posted: 20 September 2017

One of the meeting’s three “Visionary Speakers” keynote talks on Wednesday included plenty of interesting science, but also focused on the business and political issues emerging as quantum technology drives toward real applications. The speaker was OSA Fellow Wilhelm Kaenders, the cofounder of TOPTICA Photonics AG, Germany, and he stressed that he intended to provide a “small-company perspective” on what’s happening worldwide in the quantum business arena.

Read the full post


The Dilemmas of a “Post-fact” World

By Stewart Wills | Posted: 20 September 2017

Given what seems an ever more polarized and uncertain political environment, scientists increasingly grapple with the need to persuade policymakers and the public about the importance of the work that science does. In a morning session at the 2017 Frontiers in Optics meeting, Rush Holt, the CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), suggested that scientists trying to make that case often end up “communicating the wrong thing.”

Read the full post


Prospecting the Coming Automotive Revolution

By Stewart Wills | Posted: 20 September 2017

In his plenary talk, Jason Eichenholz, the cofounder and CTO of Luminar Technologies, USA, took audience members on a tour of the advanced lidar technologies necessary to make the autonomous-vehicle dream a reality.

Read the full post


Keys to Successful Proposals for Research

By Stewart Wills | Posted: 20 September 2017

Program officers and senior officials with four major funding agencies in the United States and Europe gave FiO 2017 attendees an inside look at their programs, and at some of the keys to putting in a successful proposal for optics and photonics research.

Read the full post


From VR and AR to "Mixed Reality"

By Stewart Wills | Posted: 20 September 2017

Right now, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) largely occupy different domains: VR seeks to immerse users in an entirely separate world, while AR overlays additional data, images and experiences onto the real one. But Scott McEldowney of Oculus Research, USA, sees a future in which those strands will come together. Devices almost as lightweight as an ordinary pair of eyeglasses will someday “offer AR, and VR, and everything in-between,” said McEldowney. “And we’re going to wear them all day long.”

Read the full post