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Advocate of Optics

Recognizing an outstanding public official from any country who demonstrates leadership and support for the advancement of optics and photonics

     

Advocate of Optics Recognition

The Advocate of Optics is an annual recognition by the Optica Public Policy Council. At the end of each calendar year, the council evaluates and selects an outstanding public official from any country who demonstrates leadership and support for the advancement of optics and photonics. The recipient is evaluated on criteria such as his/her enthusiasm for science and science policy, level of familiarity with optics and photonics, level of interaction with Optica and our members in the past year and record of consistent support of science, optics and photonics. One or more recipients may be chosen in any year. 

If you are interested in submitting a nominee for consideration, please contact the Global Policy & Affairs Team at publicaffairs@optics.org with the nominee's name, title, country and description of why the person is being nominated.

Below is a list of recipients of the Advocate of Optics recognition:

2021 Advocate has been selected.  Announcement will take place when we are able to present the recognition in person.
2020 Advocate has been selected.  Announcement will take place when we are able to present the recognition in person.
2019 Aram Papoyan (Armenia)
2018 Carol Monaghan (United Kingdom)
2017 Dr. France Córdova (United States)
2016 Dr. John Holdren (United States)
2015 Rep. Tom Reed (United States)
2014 Isao Sugino (Japan)
2013 Secretary of Energy Steven Chu (United States)
2012 Neelie Kroes and Antonio Tajani (Netherlands and Italy)
2011 Senator Stephen Conroy (Australia)
2010 Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (United States)
2009 Rep. Rush Holt (United States)
2008 Viviane Reding and Thierry Van der Pyl (Belgium)
2007 Sen. Jeff Bingaman (United States)
2006 Sen. Christopher Bond (United States)
Rep. Bill Shuster (United States)

 

2019 Advocate of Optics: Aram Papoyan

Left to right: David Lang (staff), 2019 President Ursula Gibson, Prof. Aram Papoyan and CEO Elizabeth Rogan

The 2019 Advocate of Optics recognition was presented to Aram Papoyan, director of the Institute for Physical Research (IPR), Armenia.  He was recognized for his leadership and efforts to integrate IPR into the European Research Area (ERA). 

The ERA is a system of scientific research programs that connects scientific resources across the European Union by focusing on multinational cooperation in medical, environmental, industrial and socioeconomic research. Armenia’s integration with ERA — through IPR and under Papoyan’s leadership — is the product of several years of development of a framework for cooperation between Armenia and European research and innovation organizations.

The ERA/IPR integration provides collaboration mechanisms in quantum information science, atomic and matter wave physics and scintillating materials. Armenian researchers and young professionals now have access to ERA funding to support and foster research in these areas.

IPR is a public research organization working in the fields of laser physics, materials science and related areas. Papoyan has directed IPR since 2006. His research focuses on laser physics, atomic physics and quantum and nonlinear optics.



2018 Advocate of Optics: Carol Monaghan
2018 President Ian Walmsley presents the 2018 Advocate of Optics recognition to Carol Monaghan.
 

The 2018 Advocate of Optics recognition was presented to Carol Monaghan, UK Member of Parliament from Scotland.  She was recognized for her support of optics and photonics through organizing the first ever House of Commons debate on the UK photonics industry and for her role in advocating for the establishment of and now chairing the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Photonics.   

Prior to becoming a Member of Parliament, Monaghan graduated from Strathclyde University with a B.Sc. (Hons) in Laser Physics and Optoelectronics in 1993 and taught for many years at Glasgow schools.

 



2017 Advocate of Optics: Dr. France Córdova
2017 President Eric Mazur presents the 2017 Advocate of Optics recognition to Dr. France Córdova


The 2017 Advocate of Optics recognition was presented to Dr. France Córdova, director, National Science Foundation (NSF).

Dr. Córdova was recognized for her work and that of NSF for its support of optics and photonics through the LIGO project, the several Dear Colleague letters, as well as Dr. Córdova’s participation in the International Year of Light event in Washington, DC in 2015. 

 

 


2016 Advocate of Optics: Dr. John Holdren
Left to right: 2016 President Alan Willner, Tracy Schario (staff), Dr. John Holdren and CEO Elizabeth Rogan

The 2016 Advocate of Optics recognition was presented to Dr. John Holdren, director, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).
 
Dr. Holdren was recognized for the work OSTP has done under his leadership, particularly with regard to working with OSA and the National Photonics Initiative in our efforts to get photonics selected for an Institute of Manufacturing Innovation as well as working with members of the photonics community on the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative.

 


2015 Advocate of Optics: Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY)

2014 President Phil Bucksbaum (right) presents the 2015 Advocate of Optics recognition to Rep. Tom Reed (left)

U.S. Congressman Tom Reed (R-NY) was chosen as the 2015 Advocate of Optics.

Rep. Reed was selected for the Advocate of Optics recognition for his leadership in developing and passing a key advanced manufacturing bill (the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act) and for securing language in the bill on optics and photonics. 

 

 

 

 

 


2014 Advocate of Optics: Isao Sugino
 2013 President Donna Strickland (left) presents the 2014 Advocate of Optics recognition to Isao Sugino (right)

Isao Sugino, Telecommunications Bureau Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) of Japan, was chosen as the 2014 Advocate of Optics.  Mr. Sugino was chosen for his leadership in research and development policy and for bringing attention to the need for developing optical technology that will make telecommunication systems more resilient during disasters.
 
Mr. Sugino gave a presentation titled “Disaster Recovery and the R&D Policy in Japan’s Telecommunication Networks” at the 2012 Optical Fiber Communications (OFC) Conference.  His presentation was on the impact the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami had on the telecommunications system in Japan as well as the restoration efforts and the country’s future R&D policy.
 


2013 Advocate of Optics: Secretary Steven Chu
See caption below

President Donna Strickland (right), presents the 2013 Advocate of Optics honor to U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu

United States Secretary of Energy was chosen as the 2013 Advocate of Optics. Chu, an OSA Fellow and Honorary Member, is well known in the optics community for his Nobel Prize-winning work on laser cooling. He was honored for his efforts in increasing investments for photovoltaics, LEDs and other optics-based energy technologies.

Chu was appointed by President Obama as the Secretary of Energy in 2009 after an impressive career that included positions at Bell Labs, Stanford University, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley. A vocal advocate for research into renewable energy , Chu has argued that a shift away from fossil fuels is essential to combating climate change. Under his direction, the Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative has invested in more than 150 research, manufacturing and market solution projects in photovoltaics, concentrating solar power and systems integration.

 


2012 Advocates of Optics: Neelie Kroes and Antonio Tajani
See caption below
Vice President Kroes (left) with CEO Elizabeth Rogan (right) and Past
President Christopher Dainty (center)

European Commissioners Neelie Kroes of the Netherlands and Antonio Tajani of Italy were chosen as the 2012 Advocates of Optics. Kroes is the Vice President of the Commission for the Digital Agenda and Tajani is the Vice President of the Commission for Industry and Entrepreneurship. The pair was chosen for their role in making photonics part of the “Key Enabling Technologies” (KETs) in the European Union.

The KETs, which include nanotechnology, advanced materials and biotechnology, in addition to photonics were identified by the European Commission as technologies that will strengthen European industry and innovation. The KETs were originally identified by the Commission in 2009, and in 2010 the Commission established a High Level Expert Group — led by Kroes and Tajani — tasked with developing a long-term strategy and action plan for implementing the KETs.

OSA President-Elect Tony Heinz presenting Senator Stephen Conroy with the Advocate of Optics Award

Vice President Tajani (center) with CEO Elizabeth Rogan (right) and Public Policy Committee Member Christoph Harder (left)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


2011 Advocate of Optics: Senator Stephen Conroy

Senator Conroy was chosen as the 2011 Advocate of Optics for his extraordinary work and dedication in championing a National Broadband Network (NBN) for Australia that will establish fiber optic communications directly to 93 percent of Australian homes, schools and businesses.

Conroy is the chief proponent of the NBN, an Australian government initiative that will deliver much faster broadband to nearly all Australians by several orders of magnitude. The NBN will achieve 100 megabits per second speeds through an infrastructure program involving the laying of fiber optic cabling to 93 percent of Australian households, schools and businesses.

OSA President-Elect Tony Heinz presenting Senator Stephen Conroy with the Advocate of Optics Award

President-Elect Tony Heinz (right) Presenting Senator Stephen Conroy with the recognition.

The remaining premises will be connected via a combination of next generation high-speed wireless and satellite technologies delivering broadband speeds of 12 megabits per second or more. It is the largest infrastructure project undertaken by the Australian government-an investment up to AUD 43 billion (USD 43 billion) over eight years. This project will provide a stimulus to the Australian optical communications industry, which has recently been revitalized.

 

 


2010 Advocate of Optics: Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Az.)
Baer and Holt 2009

President James C. Wyant, dean of the College of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona, presenting Rep. Giffords with the recognition

Rep. Giffords was chosen as the 2010 Advocate of Optics for her work on H.R.3585, the Solar Technology Roadmap Act.  This legislation seeks to improve solar technology research, development and demonstration (RD&D) programs. She is also being recognized for her work on the U.S. House of Representatives’ Science and Technology (S&T) Committee. Rep. Giffords represents the Tucson area, which is home to a large cluster of photonics companies, making her an invaluable asset to the optics and photonics community.

Rep. Giffords is serving her second term in the U.S. House of Representatives. Upon entering Congress, Rep. Giffords quickly established herself as a champion of energy independence and solar initiatives. In addition to the House S&T Committee, she also serves on the Armed Services Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee. She is also the chair of the S&T Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics.

 

 


2009 Advocate of Optics: Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.)
Baer and Holt 2009

President Thomas Baer, left, presents
Rep. Rush Holt with the 2009 Advocate
of Optics statue.

Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) was chosen as the 2009 Advocate of Optics because of his extraordinary leadership in seeking to increase federal investments in the sciences, including critical research and development (R&D). He is also being recognized for his work as co-chair of the Congressional R&D Caucus, which hosted a briefing on Strengthening National Defense with Laser Technology in 2007.

Rep. Holt was actively involved in the Congressional R&D Caucus briefing last summer on lasers in national defense.  As co-chair of the R&D Caucus, Holt helped draw attention to the importance of optics and photonics — the science of light — by focusing on the use of laser technology in defense and military applications.  Prior to coming to Congress, Rep. Holt, who is one of three Ph.D. physicists in Congress, was an assistant director at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.  He currently serves on the House Education and Labor Committee, the Natural Resources Committee and the Intelligence Committee.

 


2008 Advocates of Optics: Viviane Reding and Thierry Van der Pyl
Alferness, Van der Pyl and Reding

President Rod Alferness (right), presents the 2008 Advocate of Optics statues to Commissioner Reding and Mr. Van der Pyl in Brussels, Belgium.

Viviane Reding, European commissioner for information society and media and Thierry Van der Pyl, head of the Commission’s Photonics Unit, were recognized as the 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.

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.

 


2007 Advocate of Optics: Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.)
Policy Image

President Joseph Eberly (left) presents
Sen. Jeff Bingaman with the 2007
Advocate of Optics statue.

New Mexico Senator Jeff Bingaman was recognized as the 2007 Advocate of Optics.  Sen. Bingaman was selected as this year’s advocate because of his extraordinary leadership in seeking to increase federal investments in the sciences, including the critical area of research and development.  He is also being recognized for his work to advance energy efficiency through his continued support for energy-saving optical technologies like solid state lighting.

Sen. Bingaman was actively involved in the Senate Science and Technology (S&T) Caucus briefing last summer on solid state lighting innovations with optics.  As chair of the S&T Caucus, Bingaman helped draw attention to the importance of optics and photonics by focusing on the energy benefits of solid state lighting.

 


2006 Advocate of Optics: Sen. Christopher Bond (R-Mo.)
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Eric Van Stryland, president, presents
Sen.
Christopher "Kit" Bond with the
Advocate of Optics
statue.

Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond was recognized as one of two 2006 Advocates of Optics for his efforts to highlight the role of optics and photonics technology in modern highway transportation systems.

The decision to honor Sen. Bond stemmed from his work last year on a bill reauthorizing federal highway programs, the “Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users” or SAFETEAU-LU.  Sen. Bond was instrumental in including language in that bill to expand the definition of Intelligent Transportation Systems to include photonics.

Sen. Bond’s accomplishments were formally recognized during the organization's annual Leadership Conference.

 


2006 Advocate of Optics: Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.)
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Policy Image
Elka Koehler, member, Public Policy Committee, presents Rep. Bill Shuster with
 the 2006 Advocate of Optics statue.

Rep. Bill Shuster was recognized as one of two 2006 Advocates of Optics for his efforts to highlight the role of optics and photonics technology in modern highway transportation systems.

The decision to honor Rep. Shuster stemmed from his work last year on a bill reauthorizing federal highway programs, the “Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users” or SAFETEAU-LU.  Rep. Shuster was instrumental in including language in that bill to expand the definition of Intelligent Transportation Systems to include photonics.

Rep. Shuster’s accomplishments were formally recognized during the organization's annual Leadership Conference.