Co-sponsored by SPIE, Optica, and IEEE Photonics Society, the collaborative effort showcases optics and photonics engineers, scientists, and light-based technologies
BELLINGHAM, Washington – With global revenues exceeding $300 billion annually, the core optics and photonics industry – enabling everything from medical imaging, communication, and food safety to self-driving cars, exoplanet exploration, and virtual-reality technology – is worth celebrating. Showcasing this industry’s success and future promise, a series of career vignettes of optics and photonics engineers and scientists will drive the International Day of Light (IDL) “Possible Through Light” campaign this year.
Jessie Christiansen, a NASA scientist working on detecting and characterizing exoplanets; Matthew Weed, a Luminar engineer and product strategist working on lidar sensors for automotive safety; and Paula Kirya, an undergraduate student in bioengineering, are the featured profiles of the “Possible Through Light” campaign, to be rolled out on 4, 10, and 16 of May respectively.
Three optics and photonics-focused professional societies — SPIE, IEEE Photonics Society, and Optica — partnered to create the videos and campaign.
“The International Day of Light is a really cool initiative that serves a whole bunch of purposes,” Weed notes as part of his interview. “It’s a big international moment to bring focus to this field that people take for granted…a really exciting opportunity to celebrate what we as a community in optics have given to the world and to bring attention to this, to inspire the next generation to take up the torch.”
On 16 May, the website will include the original interviews with Christiansen, Weed, and Kirya; information about possible careers in the field of optics and photonics, from optical engineers and laser technicians, to academic researchers; and a selection of resources for optics and photonics-focused education and careers.
With its engaging, real-life profiles and interviews, “Possible Through Light” extends an invitation to future generations of scientists, technicians, engineers, and industry leaders to consider the remarkable technological advancements can be achieved with a career in optics and photonics.
“Possible Through Light” builds on the 2022 IDL campaign, “Our future is light. Play your part,” by showcasing exciting innovations and compelling careers in optics and photonics and the importance of light-based technologies, while raising awareness of the annual IDL celebration on 16 May.
About the International Day of Light
The International Day of Light (IDL), celebrated annually on 16 May, is a global initiative highlighting the central role that light and light-based technologies play across science, culture, education, and sustainable development, in areas as diverse as medicine, communications, and energy. The 16 May date honors the anniversary of the first successful demonstration of a laser by physicist and engineer Theodore Maiman in 1960; the broad theme of light allows many different sectors of society worldwide to participate in activities that demonstrate how science, technology, and art, can help achieve the goals of UNESCO: education, equality, and peace. www.lightday.org.
About IEEE Photonics Society
The IEEE Photonics Society is the professional home for a global network of engineers, scientists, and allied professionals who represent the laser, optoelectronics, and photonics community. As a Technical Society of the IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity, the IEEE Photonics Society inspires community through highly cited publications, conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities. ieeephotonics.org.
Optica (formerly OSA), Advancing Optics and Photonics Worldwide, is the society dedicated to promoting the generation, application, archiving, and dissemination of knowledge in the field. Founded in 1916, it is the leading organization for scientists, engineers, business professionals, students, and others interested in the science of light. Optica’s renowned publications, meetings, online resources and in-person activities fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate scientific, technical and educational achievement. Learn more at optica.org.
SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, brings engineers, scientists, students, and business professionals together to advance light-based science and technology. The Society, founded in 1955, connects and engages with our global constituency through industry-leading conferences and exhibitions; publications of conference proceedings, books, and journals in the SPIE Digital Library; and career-building opportunities. Over the past five years, SPIE has contributed more than $22 million to the international optics community through our advocacy and support, including scholarships, educational resources, travel grants, endowed gifts, and public-policy development. www.spie.org.