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Since 1967, Photonics Spectra magazine has defined the science and industry of photonics, providing both technical and practical information for every aspect of the global industry and promoting an international dialogue among the engineers, scientists and end users who develop, commercialize and buy photonics products. Stay current with a FREE subscription to the digital or print edition.

Latest Issue
Jun 2020

Postcolonial Love Poem: The future as a matrix of today’s choices

SUSAN PETRIE, SENIOR EDITOR, [email protected]
Poet and former professional basketball player Natalie Diaz is one of my favorite writers. According to The Poetry Foundation website, she was born in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, Calif., and once directed a language revitalization program for the last speakers of Mojave. Her new book is titled Postcolonial Love Poem, and though I haven’t read it yet, I have read a few interviews with the author. Her perspective is beautiful and rare: a living, loving body as the nexus of past, present, and future. This line is from the publisher’s website: “I am doing my best to not become a museum / of myself. I am doing my best to breathe in and out. // I am begging: Let me be lonely but not invisible.”

When I first read the title of the book, it pierced my conscience. Then my thoughts scaled up: How many economies operate on postcolonial autopilot, with legacy legal and business models, trenches of familiar but outmoded and exploitative systems? It also ignited a reaction: Change now! This line from the publisher’s website: “… a future is built, future being a matrix of the choices we make now…”

Many believe the coronavirus is causing a global shift. It’s possible. If this 21st-century pandemic has a sound, maybe it is the sound of evolving, the sound of postcolonialism splintering. Maybe it is the sound of a new matrix of choices. The sound of investment syncing with responsibility, the predatory short term bending to a sustainable long term, intention guiding ingenuity, humanity taking the reins from technology.

Bending, syncing, changing, choosing. Not becoming museums of ourselves.

If you’re wondering how postcolonial changes might manifest, examples are becoming visible in communications. IOWN GF (the Innovative Optical and Wireless Network Global Forum) discusses in a “3 Questions” interview a vision for a new type of global collaborative optical communications network (here). A feature about electro-optic polymer devices (here) demonstrates the potential to create a 5G paradigm shift. NASA reveals plans to turn communications over to industry (here).

Additionally, expect Hamamatsu’s significant breakthrough in terahertz generation (here) to influence pharmaceuticals and astronomy and OLEDs to help create useful types of bendable displays (here). It’s possible that in the not-too-distant future, 4D imaging may involve arrays of microlenses (here) while hexapods orchestrate the movements of dozens of telescopes (here).

Diaz said in one of her interviews: “It [poetry] isn’t an action, but it can lead to one.”

I agree.

Be well. Keep an eye on the robots.

Mike Wheeler
As editor-in-chief, Michael Wheeler oversees Photonics Media's editorial operations — spanning print, web, and podcasts. He also serves as editor of Vision Spectra, chronicling advancements in the rapidly expanding machine vision/inspection sector.
Susan Petrie
Susan Petrie is Senior Editor of Photonics Spectra and has two decades of experience with print and digital publications. She has a Master of Fine Arts degree in writing from Bennington College.
Doug Farmer
Senior Editor Douglas Farmer has been a journalist for nearly 20 years, winning awards for health and education reporting. He has a master's degree in journalism from Ball State University. He is editor of EuroPhotonics and BioPhotonics magazines.
Robin Riley
Multimedia/Web Editor Robin Riley has 30+ years of experience in communications and marketing for a range of technical industries. She is a regular contributor to web content and social media, and organizes and produces custom and editorial webinars.
Valerie Coffey
Science writer Valerie C. Coffey holds a bachelor’s degree in physics and a master’s in astronomy. She has covered optics, photonics, physics, and astronomy for a variety of industry and academic publications since 2000.
Hank Hogan
Contributing Editor Hank Hogan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from the University of Texas at Austin. He worked in the semiconductor industry and now writes about science and technology.
Marie Freebody
Contributing Editor Marie Freebody is a freelance science and technology journalist with a master’s degree in physics and a concentration in nuclear astrophysics from the University of Surrey in England.
Farooq Ahmed
Farooq Ahmed has covered the physical and biological sciences for over a decade. He has a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from Brown University and a Master of Fine Arts degree in writing from Columbia University.
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