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Photonics Leaders Join Together for Global, Online Academic Conference

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LOS ANGELES, Dec. 19, 2019 — The Photonics Online Meetup (POM) is a free, online conference taking place Jan. 13, 2020, with a focus on nanoscale quantum optics, integrated optics, and optical materials.

The conference will be organized by professor Andrea Armani from the University of Southern California, professor Rachel Grange from ETH Zürich, professor Igor Aharonovich from University of Technology Sydney, professor Mikhail Kats from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dr. Riccardo Sapienza from Imperial College London,  and Dr. Orad Reshef from the University of Ottawa.

The committee was drawn to the challenge of solving global issues using the conventional conference format. These issues include the large carbon footprint of air travel, the impact of travel on families, the increasing cost of travel and conference fees, and the challenges associated with visas. The organizers believe the new approach will have a particularly positive effect on the career trajectories of early-career researchers and will improve access to education for students.

“Though we all had different motivations, the committee came together with a common goal: improving the format of academic conferences,” said Armani, who will co-chair the POM conference. “As a member of the World Economic Forum and a mentor for several junior faculty, I was particularly motivated by the need to improve access for education on a global scale and the need to reduce the burden of academic travel on families for early-career researchers.”

POM will be encouraging the formation of self-organized viewing sites known as “POM-hubs” with the goal of encouraging networking at a local level to build a sense of community between researchers and students. “The committee hopes for substantial participation from students, postdocs, and other early career researchers,” Kats said.

The organizers said the schedule of the conference was optimized to be as convenient as possible for all participants, but recordings of every session will also be made available. Leading up to the event, the organizers are hosting a virtual poster session where participants can post images of posters online with a conference hashtag and then answer questions electronically in the comments. Unlike a conventional poster session that has a fixed timeframe and limited audience, the organizers are touting the unlimited duration of their approach, which will allow the conference to grow along with its audience.

“We envision that this could be the future of the scientific meetings, where online meetups will complement existing meetings,” POM co-chair Reshef said. So far, more than 50 POM-hubs have been formed across six continents.

Further information and registration links can be found at https://sites.usc.edu/pom.


Jan. 2020: This article has been updated to include the registration link: 
POM Registration

Photonics.com
Dec 2019
BusinessconferenceUniversity of Southern CaliforniaETH ZurichUniversity of Technology SydneyUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonImperial College LondonUniversity of Ottawacarbon footprintEnergy and SustainabilityWorld Economic ForumopticsenvironmenteducationAndrea Armani

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