The US photonics industry has had a busy and, by many accounts, productive year in its efforts to engage officials in conversation about the importance of the National Photonics Initiative (NPI), established to encourage policies supporting economic competitiveness and R&D in several important areas.
Most recently, 19 SPIE-sponsored volunteers visited as many as 45 congressional offices in Washington, heeding the NPI’s call to focus attention and resources on optics and photonics. Read more on the congressional visits on page 16.
Of course, efforts to spread the word and the work of photonics aren’t limited to visits with politicians. Postsecondary programs with “photonics” in their names are turning their lights on around the world, as are various initiatives aimed at helping manufacturers take advantage of light-based technologies.
As we think about the many hours of effort put in this year to advance awareness and support for the photonics industry, it’s a good time to reflect on our own beginnings. The early days of Laurin Publishing and Photonics Media were focused on the optics industry, but as the first lasers were invented and showed promise, a new word – photonics – entered the lexicon.
The Photonics Buyers’ Guide, published continuously since 1954, was launched as the Optical Industry Directory by retired Eastman Kodak physicist Dr. Clifton Tuttle. Nurtured by Laurin Publishing founder Teddi C. Laurin, the directory grew to four
volumes including the handbook and dictionary; both are now online at Photonics.com.
The special 60th anniversary edition of the Photonics Buyers’ Guide, mailing next spring, will include a keepsake industry timeline including company profiles from many organizations active in the industry today as well as some that had a presence in the earliest Laurin Publishing directories and magazines. A small taste of what you can expect from the profiles can be found in this issue, beginning on page 51.
In much the same way that the industry is pushing for support of the NPI, Teddi also worked tirelessly to expand the use and understanding of the word “photonics” to describe light-based technologies and the industry that grew up around them. She coined the word to describe the growing industry; today, the industry is shepherding the term to new levels of understanding. Some readers will remember that Photonics Spectra was launched as Optical Spectra. In 1981, our founder wrote: “So, just as we defined the industry with the publication in 1954 of the first comprehensive and authoritative directory of the field and its manufacturers, we now extend our embrace to the still-emerging technology of photonics.”
Today, Teddi’s company carries on her support for the global photonics industry. Laurin Publishing and Photonics Media will once again proudly write a new chapter with the launch of Industrial Photonics – a global resource on lasers, sensors, machine vision and automation systems for materials processing, process control and production – in January. If you are involved in the integration of light-based technologies into manufacturing operations, I invite you to subscribe now at www.photonics.com/subscribe.
See you in the new year.