The Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers (CREOL) kicked off an inaugural conference Jan. 11 and 12 to celebrate the opening of its School of Optics at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.
Distinguished members of the photonics industry pose in front of the University of Central Florida's newly opened School of Optics.
The inauguration marks the culmination of years of work by CREOL and its director, M.J. Soileau, to set up an administrative structure to recruit students and grant degrees in optics. The school becomes one of only a handful of institutions in the US dedicated exclusively to optics, joining the Optical Sciences Center at the University of Arizona in Tucson and the Institute of Optics at the University of Rochester in New York.
"The conference was a coming-out party for the school," said Soileau. "I think it's in step with the explosion of the applications of optics and photonics throughout many industries. It's growing in a very diverse way."
The event included speeches by Nobel laureates Nicolaas Bloembergen, professor emeritus at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., who spoke on "Nonlinear Optics: Past, Present and Future"; Charles Townes of the University of California at Berkeley; and Steven Chu of Stanford University in California. Townes invented the laser in 1959, and Chu recently received the Nobel Prize for his work on laser cooling and trapping.