Hearing Is Believing
A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity. An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. - Winston Churchill
Karen A. Newman
Exhibitors at Frontiers in Optics (FiO)
2010, held Oct. 24-28 in Rochester, N.Y., were a pretty bullish bunch, sharing news
about hirings, product innovations, facility expansions and other positive developments
with the kind of optimism you have to look past the headlines to find these days.
And I wasn’t the only one who heard it.
After the meeting, I asked FiO organizers at OSA how this year’s
event reflected the current state of the economy and the industry, and what conclusions
event officials would draw about the short-term future of the industry based on
what they saw and heard at the event. The response came from FiO’s 2010 general
co-chair, Karl Koch of Corning Inc., who said, “Frontiers in Optics consistently
provides the best venue for optics and photonics professionals to network with their
colleagues, hear about cutting-edge research and see what’s hot in the industry; FiO
2010 was no exception.”
Koch noted that the show’s attendees hold strong optimism
about the future of optics research and applications for near- and long-term markets.
“As the name of the show implies, researchers and companies that attend Frontiers
in Optics are on the forefront of developments in their field,” he said. “In
specific areas of research, biomed is an especially exciting area – we saw
presentations on everything from using LEDs to treat skin cancer to monitoring bone
density for signs of osteoporosis using infrared light.
“Despite the situation affecting many sectors of the US
economy, I was pleased to see that exhibiting company representatives were overwhelmingly
positive this year, indicating an optics industry that is upbeat, and taking on
the challenges of the current economic situation. Though much of the work reported
at the meeting is research whose impact won’t be felt for a few years, there
was certainly good news in application areas like telecommunications, photovoltaics
FiO 2010 attracted more than 1700 attendees and more than 85 exhibitors,
according to OSA; this reflects an increase over last year’s meeting in San
Jose and is consistent with other years when the event was held in Rochester. Among
the many attractions at this year’s meeting were a number of awards as well
as keynote addresses by award winners Joseph Eberly (OSA’s Frederic Ives Medal/Jarus
W. Quinn Endowment), and Margaret Murnane and Henry Kapteyn (APS’ Arthur Schawlow
Prize). LaserFest events were new and widely attended, as were two special symposia:
the Arthur Ashkin Honorary and the Symposium on Optical Communications. Not surprisingly,
OSA reported “a lot of blogging and social media activity around the show,
which was a new way of bringing people together” – a fitting result
for this relatively young and thoroughly modern industry.
I enjoyed a tour of Sydor Optics’ nearby facility, where
the optimism was tangible and the artistry of the pitch table left a lingering impression
of dedication and precision. I have always enjoyed the bustle and hum of a production
facility, and this one did not disappoint.
As we close out 2010, I extend my thanks to all who contributed
to the success of Photonics Spectra this year. We look forward to working with you
in 2011, and I hope you’ll contact me at email@example.com.
- 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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