Visiting the Kansas Optical Society

Visiting the Kansas Optical Society

By Tso Yee Fan, MIT Lincoln Laboratory

The Kansas Optical Society student chapter, based at Kansas State University, is active in running events such as arranging for and hosting OSA Traveling Lecturer and putting together outreach at the University Open House. The chapter has around 20 members and hosted me on a very full day in Manhattan, Kansas. Some of the research activities included ultrafast molecular dynamics, laser development, and ultrafast x-ray science. These activities centered around the J. R. Macdonald Laboratory, which houses multiple short-pulse, Ti-sapphire-based laser systems along with ion sources and accelerators. This is a shared facility for the one of the larger U. S. university AMO physics communities.

The visit was organized by Neda Dadashzadeh, a student of Prof. Krisin Corwin and a member of the Kansas Optical Society. As part of the visit, there were discussions with Profs. Washburn, Corwin, Rolles, Rudenko, Lin, and Trallero, all in the physics department working in AMO physics. The visit also included discussions with the Engineering Dean, Darryl Dawson and Head of the Chemical Engineering Department, James Edgar. The College of Engineering is prepping for a significant event, ribbon cutting on a new building housing Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, and shared spaces for student projects. This new building is quite impressive and represents the most recent phase of a multiphase campaign to greatly upgrade the College of Engineering physical plant. This building is something Kansas State is very proud of, and justifiably so. It’s worth a stop if one is nearby, although the activities in optics are much more centered in the Dept. of Physics.

Students led the lab tour (no faculty allowed!) of the J. M. Macdonald Laboratory. We (also no faculty allowed!) also held lively and interactive discussions over lunch and dinner around careers, finding jobs, and OSA student activities. . They have an active campaign to recruit additional members to the chapter, but at times have had difficulty getting students to continue past the first year. They have been effective at leveraging OSA resources. For example, previous to my visit, they’ve hosted a couple of other OSA Traveling Lecturers, and a couple of the officers of the chapter, Adam Summers and Derrek Wilson have been invited by the OSA to Washington DC to participate in visits to Congressional offices.
Overall, it was a beautiful spring day to be at Kansas State.

Posted: 26 April 2016 by Tso Yee Fan, MIT Lincoln Laboratory | with 0 comments