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Optical Design & Engineering

Photonics volunteers urge Congressional support for funding science programs, higher education

SPIE Newsroom
27 April 2017

On April 26, volunteers supported by SPIE joined other scientists, researchers, engineers, and industry professionals in visiting U.S. Congressional offices in Washington, D.C., to urge support for measures to strengthen America's ability to compete in the world photonics industry.

This year, National Photonics Initiative (NPI) Congressional Visits Day had nearly 50 volunteers who visited more than 80 offices of representatives and senators from nearly two dozen states and the District of Columbia. SPIE is a Founding Sponsor of the NPI.

Congressional Visits Day, 26 April 2017

Barbara Darnell, Rep. Joe Kennedy
(D-Massachusetts),
Viktor Podolskiy, Judith Birkenfeld

Congressional Visits Day, 26 April 2017

Ryan Gelfand,
Rep. Valdez Demings (D-Florida),
Richard Benson


SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs praised the efforts of Congressional Visits Day volunteers and urged others to advocate for photonics and science.

"We take our food quality and prices, our health and longevity, our smart devices, the reasonably clean air we breathe, our knowledge of our world and universe, and light, all for granted," Arthurs said. "We need to remember that federal investment in science and technology has made an extraordinary difference in how we live. We will need it more than ever as we face a future of resource limits, less effective pharmaceuticals, and rapid global transmission is of traditional and new diseases."

The message that science and technology save lives, create jobs, protect communities, and are the engine for future economic growth needs to be made clear to elected representatives both in Washington, D.C., and locally, he noted.