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Where History Fuels Progression (Video)

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Each year, the city of San Francisco welcomes the photonics community to the largest international conference and exhibition in the industry — Photonics West. The Moscone Center comes alive with the latest research and the newest products. It’s an ideal place to host such an event, as this city by the bay is well known for its innovation and progressive culture. And it’s credited with a dot com surge that is now home to technology hubs including Twitter, Pinterest and Reddit.

The future remains bright for San Francisco, but its rich history still shares the spotlight.

Incorporated in 1850, the city had become a “cosmopolitan metropolis with a frontier edge” with a large and quickly growing population. By the time it was established in the state of California, the population had surged from about 1,000 residents to 25,000 in a year’s time. San Francisco soon became a central point for the famed Gold Rush that drew thousands of settlers and immigrants to the California foothills.

Construction of the Central Pacific Railroad toward the end of the 19th century rapidly expanded San Francisco even further. It had become one of the most prosperous and diverse cities in the country. But in the midst of flourish, the city was set back by a great earthquake and fires. In 1906, the San Andreas Fault line slipped more than 10 feet, which devastated the city’s infrastructure and initiated widespread fires that raged for days. Several thousand people perished, and an estimated 250,000 people were left homeless as at least 25,000 buildings were destroyed.

However, it wasn’t long before San Francisco was rebuilt and thriving once again. The devastation only fueled its resilience. In fact, less than a decade after the infamous earthquake and fires, San Francisco hosted the Panama-Pacific International Exposition world’s fair.

The city’s growth continued well into the 1930s, with construction of the San Francisco Bay Bridge (opened to the public in 1936), and the Golden Gate Bridge (opened to the public in 1937). The development of districts such as Chinatown, Pacific Heights and Hayes Valley have also shaped this city by the bay.

San Francisco has reinvented itself numerous times since its inception. In addition to it being a central point of the California Gold Rush of the 1800s, it was later the hub for the counterculture movement of the 1960s. It became a mecca for the LGBT community, and is credited with birthing the dot com revolution.

Today, San Francisco is a captivating mix of natural beauty, rich history and innovation. And it’s a place where the innovative, revolutionary spirit of the photonics industry can feel right at home.
Jan 2018
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...
SPIE Photonics West 2018San FranciscoMoscone CenterPhotonics WesthistoryGold RushCaliforniaCentral Pacific RailroadSan Andreas FaultPanama-Pacific International Exposition World’s FairGolden Gate BridgeChinatownPacific HeightsHayes Valleyphotonics

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