SPIE promotes optics and photonics at USA Science and Engineering Festival and Expo
BELLINGHAM, Washington, and WASHINGON, D.C. -- Volunteers and student chapter members with SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, are ready for a big weekend on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., as a two-day expo culminates the week-long USA Science and Engineering Festival.
SPIE, a festival Partner, will present optics and photonics through a booth demonstration of "invisible tattoos" created by placing metal such as a key on the skin and then viewing the skin through an infrared camera.
Students from SPIE Student Chapters at North Carolina State University, Boston University, and University of Maryland College Park will staff the SPIE booth, one of 500 in the expo. Students will be assisted by SPIE Fellows Michael Postek of NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) and Carmiña Londoño of NSF (National Science Foundation).
SPIE Member Marco Molinaro of the NSF Center for Biophotonics Science and Technology will staff another booth showcasing biophotonics at work, and there will be laser demonstrations at the LaserFest booth, sponsored by SPIE and other LaserFest Founding Partners and supporters.
Hosted by Lockheed Martin in cooperation with more than 500 science organizations, the festival began 10 October and is the country's first national science festival. Pre-expo events included presentations for students, teachers, and the public, demonstrations, lectures, awards, and other activities around Washington and at 50 satellite festivals throughout the country.
As part of his adminstration's "Educate to Innovate" campaign, President Barack Obama hosted the first White House Science Fair on 18 October, in conjunction with the USA Science and Engineering events. At the White House event, Obama said that it is time for student inventors to receive the same recognition as sports heroes, and that the inventions on display and the students who made them demonstrate "the promise of America."
Photonics was well represented among the 11 projects showcased at the White House event. Among them were:
- A carbon-fiber solar car built from scratch by middle-school students from Billings, Montana.
- A software navigation system to help improve spacecraft travel through the solar system, designed by a freshman at the California Institute of Technology.
- A photosensitizer for photodynamic therapy, using light energy to activate a drug that kills cancer cells, developed by a high-school junior from Richardson, Texas.
- The robot "Miss Daisy," built by high-school students from Ambler, Pennsylvania, from a kit of hundreds of parts.
SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, was founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. Serving more than 180,000 constituents from 168 countries, the Society advances emerging technologies through interdisciplinary information exchange, continuing education, publications, patent precedent, and career and professional growth. SPIE annually organizes and sponsors approximately 25 major technical forums, exhibitions, and education programs in North America, Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific, and supports scholarships, grants, and other education programs around the world.
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