SPIE Professional April 2009
Some of the best research—and friendships—begin at photonics conferences. Four young researchers who call themselves the “Time-Domain Optical Compadres” are enjoying both activities.
Lázaro Padilha, Álvaro Casas-Bedoya, Carlos López-Mariscal, and Víctor Lysiuk (pictured left to right at a 2008 gathering in Cali, Colombia, above) have met at more than a dozen international optical conferences and SPIE Student Chapter events since meeting in 2004, despite living in different countries and time zones.
Their meetings, on three continents, and the close contact they maintain in between have created a perfect opportunity to find research groups of interest as well as funding opportunities for their graduate degrees and their current positions. The four friends first met while students attending the 2004 Frontiers in Optics conference in Rochester (USA).
Padilha, a former visiting student at CREOL in Florida (USA), is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the same institution.
Casas-Bedova, who has lived in four different countries since the compadres first meeting, is finishing his MSc at IMEC in Belgium and plans to move to Scotland for his PhD.
López-Mariscal is working as a guest researcher at NIST in Maryland (USA).
And Lysiuk is a researcher at the V. Lashkaryov Institute of Semiconductor Physics in Kiev (Ukraine).
Three of them (Casas-Bedoya, Lysiuk, and López-Mariscal, l-r at right) met in Trieste in February at the ICTP Winter College. "The compadres make an event out of every one of their meetings," said López-Mariscal.
"Thanks to organizations like SPIE, which support the travel of students members to sponsored events, our friendship has grown solid. The time-domain optical compadres have managed to preserve their friendship throughout long years of studies thanks largely to their involvement in the organization of international technical conferences and student events as SPIE Student Chapter leaders.
"Each initiative is a rewarding experience that has taken them to venues only as diverse as the group itself: from to the cold mountains of western Ukraine to the subtropical landscapes of Colombia and the warmth of San Diego," he said.