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SPIE, LaserFest Founding Partners fund laser outreach programs

15 December 2009

BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA -- SPIE is joining fellow LaserFest Founding Partners APS (American Physical Society) and OSA (Optical Society of America) in adding Society funds to the LaserFest on the Road outreach program, in response to stronger-than-expected applicant response. Groups and individuals will use the grants for laser-technology outreach programs in their communities in 2010, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the invention of the laser.

SPIE has funded 7 grants totaling almost $41,000 for LaserFest on the Road outreach programs. Other funding for the LaserFest on the Road outreach program is being provided by NSF (National Science Foundation) grants awarded to LaserFest and by APS and OSA. A total of 29 projects were awarded grants from among 77 applications. LaserFest organizers hope to secure more funding to allocate in early 2010.

SPIE LaserFest grants were awarded to groups at Univ. Laval for technology demonstrations and student activities; Simon Fraser Univ. for science immersion outreach events and for a memorial conference honoring Theodore Maiman, inventor of the first laser; Univ. of Queensland for a traveling demonstration program; Univ. of Toronto for a high-school outreach program; Bethel Univ. for outreach and mentoring programs in area schools; and Air Force Institute of Technology for a public lecture series.

The SPIE LaserFest grants help fulfill the Society's mission to promote science and engineering education and light-based research and technology. In 2008, SPIE provided $1.9 million for scholarships, grants, and other activities supporting research and education around the world.

LaserFest is the science community celebration of the 50th anniversary of the laser. The IEEE Photonics Society recently became the fourth LaserFest Founding Partner/Sponsor with APS, OSA, and SPIE. Nearly 40 other organizations have signed on as partners and media sponsors.

SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, was founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. Serving more than 188,000 constituents from 138 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. For more information, visit SPIE.org

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Media contact:
Amy Nelson
SPIE Public Relations Manager
Tel: +1 360 685 5478