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Letters to the Editor

Photonics Spectra
Oct 2009
Benefits, not danger

I read with interest the article by Gary Boas titled, “Just how dangerous are foreign researchers?” (June 2009, p. 62). I came to the US many years ago as a postdoctoral fellow from Germany and experienced firsthand the many benefits of an international exchange program.

I am afraid that if we limit or even lose the opportunity to attract young, highly qualified scientists from around the world, the US will fall further behind in global competition. Perhaps even more critical is that science will suffer because many good ideas, which could be developed by a team of US and foreign researchers, will not be developed to benefit mankind.

I therefore strongly suggest that we “rediscover” the value of foreign researchers and make sure that international exchange programs will not be reduced to a mere skeletal existence.

Christian T.K.-H. Stadtländer
St. Paul, Minn.

Misleading photos?

The example of before and after photos of Chapel Hill, N.C., lit with incandescents and then Cree LEDs is misleading. Although the LEDs may have allowed for a more daylight-looking color temperature than the (presumably) high-pressure sodium and tungsten lights, there is no way they lit up the town the way it is shown. The before photo was obviously a much shorter exposure than the after photo, or the ISO setting on the camera was much lower. If the change shown had taken place, then Cree is responsible for one heck of an increase in light pollution and wasted illumination. Just look at the sky brightness in the after image.

Richard Anderson

Cree Inc.’s response: The photographer of these images said that the photos were taken at slightly different times of the day. The exposures used to take the pictures, however, were very similar and adjusted only to ensure the most detailed photos. Also, sometimes in the conversion from digital photo to a printed magazine, there can be some color variation, and these photos were not processed to make them look unreal, but each image was enhanced to provide the best-quality photo.

Gender battle

I read Gary Boas’ article (August, p. 24) “The good – and bad – news on gender differences among science faculty.” It is interesting that universities are promoting women in the sciences but are still not getting the number of applicants needed to justify their discrimination against men. It is obvious that women do not see themselves in those positions. Women discover early on that those jobs require a lifetime of dedication to the science or some novel concept that requires the individual be dedicated to the career.

Women have more important jobs to do, such as establishing a relationship, getting married and having children. As a result, looking at a tenure-track position is not that important in their grand scheme of life. Men have always put career above family, which is why many (not all) have suffered the personal tragedy of divorce. Women see a tenure-track position as destroying their dream of having a happily married life with children.

It also should be pointed out that all this attention on women in the sciences is having the effect of discouraging boys from pursuing a science career. Boys discover early in schools and universities that girls are getting all the attention, which discourages boys from engaging in the career field. Statistics have shown that boys are falling behind girls in all aspects of technical training. This is obvious from all the programs promoting women but not men.

In the old days, the characteristics required for a tenure-track position were not sex but intellectual scholarship, hard work and academic performance. Because we are now in the “enlightened progressive era,” we do not use those characteristics for job requirements. Only those who look pretty are considered instead of actual intellectual competence.

I do not see women making any breakthrough contributions in science because it requires a lifetime of dedication and hard work. Women still have their passion toward their family and children, not their careers. This is good.

Maybe President Obama can help by mandating that all graduating women in the sciences must apply to tenure-track positions. That way, the universities will have more applications, which seems to be what is really important here.

Kevin Bolam
Retired Engineer
DuBois, Pa.

color temperature
A colorimetric concept related to the apparent visual color of a source (not its temperature). For a blackbody, the color temperature is equal to the temperature in kelvin.
The degree to which a vision system is capable of sensing differences in light intensity between two regions.
In optics, the total radiant energy incident on a surface-per-unit area. It is equal to the integral over time of the radiant flux density. Also known as radiant exposure.
The general term for the application of light to a subject. It should not be used in place of the specific quantity illuminance.
 CreeapplicantsboyscamerasCAREERChapel HillchildrenChristian T. K.-H. StadtländerColor TemperaturedaylightdedicationdiscriminationdivorceExchangeexposurefacultyfellowforeign researchersGary BoasgenderGermanygirlsglobal competitionilluminationimagingincandescentinternationalISOKevin BolamLetterslight pollutionlight sourcesmarriedmenN.C.ObamaphotospostdoctoralPresidentprogressive erarelationshipRichard Andersonscholarshipsciencescientistssodiumtenure-tracktungstenUnited StatesuniversitieswomenLEDs

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