Monday, September 27, 2010

FiO/LS 2010: Everything and the Kitchen Sink

Karl Koch of Corning, Inc., and this year's General Program Chair for Frontiers in Optics 2010 Annual Meeting, is not fibbing in the slightest when he says FiO "..covers almost all topic areas that the Optical Society concerns itself with." Where else could you find sessions like Astrophotonics, Vison and Color, Optical Design with Unconventional Polarization, Laser-based Particle Acceleration, Lasers for Fusion and Fast Ignition, and Sensing in Higher Dimensions all in the same program?

This year's conference is being held in Rochester, NY during October 24-28. Whether attending or not, be sure to catch up with FiO bloggers Laura Waller and Stephen Roberson for daily conference updates. Besides the breadth of topics, what makes FiO/LS special is a smaller, more intimate atmosphere than the typical conference fare. Quality has not been sacrificed for breadth. This years conference includes presentations by heavy-hitters such as Emil Wolf, James Gordon, Stephen Block, Jim Fujimoto, Sunney Xie, Alain Aspect, and many more.

To help build your specific conference itinerary, I recommend watching the you-tube shorts of the different subcommittee chairs describing work in their particular topics. I found Alfred U'Ren's, of Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, descriptions of Quantum Electronics abstracts (above) particularly helpful. Among other talks, Dr. U'Ren highlighted work by Stephen Barnett, FTuZ1, "The Enigma of Optical Momentum," in which Barnett seems to have solved a longstanding paradox between conflicting descriptions of optical momentum in materials. Through a combination of browsing the shorts and looking at the online planner, I also became interested in FTuS7, "Tensile Strength Analysis of Laser Skin Welding with Thulium Laser System," whose authors are seeking a photonic replacement to suturing wounds using Mid-IR light.

Though the plenary is typically a staple, I still feel compelled to urge you to attend Joseph Eberly's Ives Medal Address. Dr. Eberly will be receiving OSA's highest honor. His talk, "When Malus Tangles with Euclid, who Wins?" stands to be creative and enlightening.

Finally, another unique quality of FiO/LS is an emphasis on education in science and optics. Science Educators day, Wednesday, October 27, 4:30-8:00 pm, is a chance for middle and high school educators, professional or volunteer outreach, to learn new hands-on demos and experiments in optics for the classroom. Additionally, FiO/LS is one of the few professional optics conferences that has an undergraduate symposium, Monday, October 25, 12:00-6:30 pm. FiO/LS is leading the way to mentor and encourage the future generation of optical scientists and engineers. Mark your calendars and support these budding, young scientists.

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