WASHINGTON, April 24, 2006 -- Increased and balanced federal investment in research and development was the focus of Optical Society of America (OSA) and SPIE members who participated in the 11th Annual Science-Engineering-Technology Congressional Visits Days (CVD) last month in Washington. CVD is sponsored by the Science-Engineering-Technology Working Group, an information network of professional, scientific and engineering societies, higher education associations and institutions and trade associations to promote the future vitality of the US science, mathematics and engineering enterprises.
Members of the SPIE-OSA contingent. Front: Alexandre Fong, Scott McCain, Robert Breault; middle: Wayne Knox, Peter Delfyett, Barbara Darnell, Keri Then, Carolyn Russell, Jim McNally; back: Ralph James, Philip Stahl, Steve Pompea, Paul McManamon, F.J. Duarte.
Members of the OSA-SPIE Capitol Hill CVD contingent were: Robert P. Breault, CEO of Breault Research Organization of Tucson, Ariz.; Peter Delfyett, a professor of optics, physics and electrical and computer engineering at the University of Central Florida College of Optics and Photonics and director of its Ultrafast Photonics Group; research physicist and author F.J. Duarte; Alexandre Y. Fong, vice president of sales for Optronic Laboratories of Orlando, Fla.; Wayne Knox, director of the Institute of Optics at The University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y.; Silvia Mioc, president of the Colorado Photonics Industry Association (CPIA); and Carolyn Russell, business development specialist at QED Technologies of Rochester.
Also: Philip Stahl, senior optical physicist at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center; Steve Pompea, adjunct associate astronomer at Steward Observatory and manager of science education at the National Observatory, Tucson; Keri Then, an adjunct business faculty member at the University of Redlands of Redlands, Calif.; Barbara Darnell of Bodkin Design and Engineering LLC of Wellesley, Mass., Scott McCain, a PhD candidate in electrical engineering at Duke University's Fitzpatrick Institute for Photonics; John Gonglewski, a researcher at Philips Lab, Kirkland AFB, N.M.; Jim McNally, CEO of TruTouch Technologies Inc. of Albequerque, N.M., and chairman of the New Mexico Optics Industry Association; Ralph James, associate laboratory director at the US Dept. of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, on Long Island, N.Y.; and SPIE 2006 President Paul McManamon, chief scientist of the Sensors Directorate at the Air Force Research Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio.
They were among nearly 300 scientists, engineers and business leaders who participated in the event.
CVD Participants discussed with congressional leaders the importance of the nation’s portfolio of investments in science, engineering and technology and promoted its role in national security, prosperity and US leadership and innovation, including the local and national impact of these programs and their significance to optics and photonics. Specifically, they asked for increased investments at the Department of Defense, Department of Energy Office of Science and the National Science Foundation, and reiterated the need for continued funding of math and science education.
Then said, "Senior staff members in both the House and Senate were very receptive this year to our visits and support appropriation of funds for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education and research. The tangible benefits of national support for this issue may not be seen for years to come, but advocating for this important issue now will ensure science, engineering and math students of the future."
"More than 50 percent of all industrial innovation and growth in the US since World War II can be attributed to advances pioneered through scientific research, with publicly funded R&D the vital foundation for today’s scientific and technological progress," OSA said in a statement. "Examples of scientific and technological advances that can be traced back to federally funded science, engineering and technology include global environmental monitoring, lasers, liquid crystal displays and the Internet. Science, engineering and technology will play an important role in the fight against terrorism. It is also crucial for ensuring economic well-being."
Elizabeth Rogan, OSA’s executive director, said, "Members of OSA participated in Congressional Visits Day to emphasize the important role that optics and photonics play in innovation. US funding of basic research in our field is an investment that fuels the economy in the forms of new technologies, products, services and jobs. The OSA members who participated in Congressional Visit Days drove this message home and will help keep funding of research and development a top priority for these legislators."
Highlights of the two-day event included remarks by Richard O. Buckius, acting assistant director for engineering, National Science Foundation; and David Goldston, chief of staff of the House Science Committee; a reception at which Republican Rep. Frank Wolf of Virginia was awarded the George E. Brown Jr. Science, Engineering, Technology Leadership Award by the Science-Engineering-Technology Working Group; and a breakfast meeting with Republican Rep. Bob Inglish of South Carolina, chairman of the House Science Committee, Research Subcommittee, and Republican Rep. John Culberson of Texas, a member of the House Appropriations Committee. Participants also visited with local senators and representatives.
For more information, visit: www.setcvd.org