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European Groups Appoint Young Ambassador for Photonics Education

Photonics.com
Jun 2013
BRUSSELS, June 3, 2013 — As a young girl in the Netherlands, Jana Huisman had a curiosity about the world around her that led her to study physics and that now drives her interest in photonics. Huisman, 18, will use that passion in her new appointment as Young Ambassador for Photonics Education.

Huisman, now in her third year of undergraduate studies at the University of Bonn in Germany, was officially given the role by European Commissioner Neelie Kroes at the annual meeting of Photonics21, the European technology platform for photonics, held in late April. The position was created by Photonics21 and the European Commission.

The ambassadorship was created to help stimulate interest in studying photonics, one of Europe’s key enabling technologies. As Kroes pointed out at the annual meeting, the European photonics industry makes up 20 percent of the global market, and the European Union is home to more than 5000 SMEs (small- and medium-sized enterprises) in the sector.


Jana Huisman (center) accepts the Young Ambassador for Photonics Education award from Photonics 21 President Dr. Michael Mertin and European Commissioner Neelie Kroes at the Photonics21 annual meeting. Image ©Photonics21.

"As Young Ambassador for Photonics Education, I'm going to visit three research institutes this year to talk to researchers and see their work," Huisman said. "I'm looking forward to learning about what they are doing, bringing my enthusiasm, and then writing and blogging about it — hopefully, I can transmit some of that enthusiasm to other students."

Huisman thinks that there are many reasons for young people to take an interest in photonics. "Curiosity is one of the main reasons for me — which is what drove me towards science," she said.

As well as encouraging others to enter the field, Huisman hopes to gain a greater understanding of photonics research and the information and communication technology industry in Europe.
"Photonics is a very diverse and active field with a lot of room for new research and career opportunities," she said.

At the award ceremony, Kroes asked Huisman to join, as an observer, her group of Young Advisors on the Digital Agenda. That group is tasked with providing insight into digital communication technologies and applications.

Whatever the future holds, Huisman's current priority is to keep pursuing her studies on the interaction between light and matter.

"There's a connection to life," she said. "There are photonics applications in environmental and health sciences, and with photovoltaics, we can imitate nature by getting energy from sunlight."

She intends to continue her current studies to master’s and doctorate level — and for the next year will combine this ambition with the exciting prospect of the Young Ambassador program.

"I start as ambassador here and now," she said, "but my first trip will be to the Politecnico di Milano in Italy, probably before the end of the summer."

For more information, visit: www.photonics21.org


GLOSSARY
photonics
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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