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Auld Lang Syne and All That

Photonics.com
Jan 2010
Gary Boas

Jan. 18, 2010 — So here we are in the new year. Few of us, I’m sure, are sorry to say goodbye to the old one. Last year was challenging to say the least, what with the near-collapse of the global economy, the attendant difficulties in conducting business, and all manner of nonsense otherwise. In the relatively brief span of 12 months, we faced countless crises and seemingly endless unwelcome intrusions – from the auto industry to the swine flu, from bailouts to Balloon Boy. Put simply, 2009 was a bit of a drag.

 We’re still wandering the proverbial woods, of course, but we’ve reached a point where we can maybe see the edge of the trees. In the optics community, the photovoltaic solar industry has shown us that growth — largely unbridled growth at that — is possible even in the most dire of times. Another example: analysts believe that the usually recession-proof medical device industry, which took its share of hits last year, will begin to bounce back in 2010. Looking ahead, the changing healthcare landscape will likely open up additional opportunities — in telemedicine and point-of-care applications, for instance.

I’ll keep an eye on developments and, in this space, explore the ways in which they impact the field of optics. Not just economic developments; political, social and cultural ones as well. After all, we live in a delicate sort of ecology where changes in one realm can have profound effects in another — a butterfly in China and all that. At the same time, I hope readers will chime in whenever the mood strikes them, continuing the conversation about particular topics or even suggesting new ones.

The Photonics West conference and exhibition kicks off in a few days, in San Francisco.  I’ll check in from there as often as I can — I’m sure there will be much to talk about. Until then, stay warm, everyone.

Oh, and Happy New Year.



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