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SPIE Professional January 2007

Anticipating Science and the Society

SPIE President Brian Culshaw looks forward to an exciting year ahead bridging disciplines, cultures, and generations.

By Brian Culshaw

Happy new year to all, and with the new year comes the new SPIE President. It is indeed a very great pleasure, an enormous privilege, and a somewhat daunting prospect that you, the members, have honored me with this year.
Paul McManamon served the Society as 2006 President with whirlwind energy and enormous dedication. He made great achievements on behalf of the Society in Asia and continuously reminded us that the youth are the future. Equally important, but far less obvious, he has been a stimulating communicator among the community of SPIE officers for which I am sure we are all very appreciative. On behalf of all of us?members of and collaborators with the Society?I would like to record a very special thank you for Paul's year of energy and commitment.
Energy and commitment along with the all-important spark of adventure are, I am delighted to say, frequently encountered among the SPIE membership and within the staff whose skillful and highly professional support we value greatly. In the 20 or more years of my membership, it has been that sense of adventure, the willingness to speculate, and the ability to support and stimulate, all of which I believe are unique to SPIE, which have been a major factor in my enthusiasm for the Society.
Our interests, though, must center on optics and photonics and in particular their applications in the community in which we work. These applications are many and varied, and promise to increase substantially. During the past year or so, cross-disciplinary work, diversity, and photonics and optics have all emerged in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and the UK as important enablers for future engineers and technologists. So our topic is important and is being increasingly recognized as such internationally. We see exciting prospects for optics and photonics.
Within SPIE, our philosophy of agility and adventure, both deeply embedded into the Society's culture, will ensure that we are ever present to serve and stimulate the technical community as our discipline spreads into new regimes.
We are then well positioned for the future and SPIE is presented with enormous opportunity and equally enormous challenges over the coming years. We see internationally a youth culture whose experiences will differ enormously from those of us well into our second half century. We need enthusiastic young people in our profession to contribute to the emerging needs of our society.
We also see science and technology becoming more and more an international activity. While the technology and science is the same among cultures, the approaches and philosophies within the society which surrounds science are often radically different. These distinctions are fascinating in their own right, and developing mutual respect and communication through international activities is essential for SPIE's continuing vitality.
Stimulating young minds, bridging technologies, enhancing our sense of adventure, and transgressing cultural diversity are just a few of the challenges which promise an exciting year ahead. I look forward to an intriguing and stimulating year, to working with our excellent cohorts of staff and volunteers, to no doubt learning much in the process, and to contributing positively to SPIE, building on the firm foundations laid by a long line of distinguished and committed predecessors.

Brian Culshaw
Brian Culshaw is a professor in the Optoelectronic Sensors and Systems Group at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, UK. Culshaw earned his BSc in physics and PhD in electrical engineering both from University College London.
He is a very active Fellow of the Society, having served on multiple committees, chaired numerous conferences, sessions, and symposia, as well as having authored more than 130 papers with SPIE alone. Culshaw is also a fellow of the Institute of Physics (UK) and a member of the Institute of Engineering and Technology, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and the Optical Society of America.
In 1994 Culshaw and university colleagues created the spin-off OptoSci Ltd., which produces optoelectronic systems, components, and instrumentation for education, research, industrial, and environmental markets. Culshaw wrote about this experience in the July issue of SPIE Professional.

DOI: 10.1117/2.4200701.01