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Lawmakers Lobbied for Level S&T Funding

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WASHINGTON, May 10, 2011 — Members of the Optical Society (OSA), along with those from other scientific associations and societies, attended Capitol Hill Day 2011 last week to speak with their senators and representatives about sustained federal funding for science and technology in fiscal year 2012.

The event was held in conjunction with the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO:2011) to remind legislators of the critical nature of research and development (R&D) funding and the impact that decreases in funding have on America’s ability to make important science and technology (S&T) advances.

The 25 participants representing OSA member organizations including IEEE-USA, the American Physical Society and the Optoelectronics Industry Development Association visited more than 70 offices throughout the day, asking legislators to support level and consistent funding in FY 2012 for US federal science agencies, including the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy’s Office of Science and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Members shared the message that research being done at these agencies is vital to the innovation and production of the next generation of advanced technology products and services. Participants reminded legislators that scientific and engineering research is crucial for job creation and for the long-term health of the country’s economy, with the optical industry in particular being a leading source of high-quality manufacturing jobs for the US in the future.

“Now more than ever it is critical for legislators to be reminded of the value and importance of federally funded research,” said Greg Quarles, OSA Public Policy committee chairman. “By visiting with our legislators, we are able to put a face to the science and explain on a deeper level just how important it is for sustained science funding.”

By sharing personal stories of their experiences as professionals in the field of optics and photonics, and by pointing out specific optics-related advances and discoveries that have resulted from federal funding, the participants hoped to show the lawmakers that increased funding is an investment in America’s future. Advancements such as the Internet, energy-efficient lighting and the laser all were made possible by federal research funds.

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May 2011
Pertaining to optics and the phenomena of light.
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...
American Physical SocietyBusinessCapitol Hill DayCLEO 2011Conference on Lasers and Electro-OpticsConsumerDepartment of EnergyfundingFY 2012Greg QuarlesIEEE-USAindustriallawmakerslegislatorslightingNational Institute of Standards and TechnologyNational Science FoundationopticalOptical SocietyopticsOptoelectronics Industry Development AssociationOSAphotonicsResearch & TechnologyS&TWashington DClasers

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