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SPIE Professional July 2008

Letter from the President

At symposia and other meetings, industry representatives work with SPIE to advance innovation, careers, and the science of light.

By Kevin Harding

Kevin Harding 2008 SPIE President

One of the many duties of the president of the Society is to represent SPIE at a variety of events and activities. In this role, I am privileged to meet many interesting people from around the world in all walks of life. I certainly enjoyed meeting with many of you at some of our recent symposia: SPIE Photonics West (again a record turnout), SPIE Defense+Security Symposium (DSS), and SPIE Europe Photonics Europe.

One of the key speakers I was privileged to meet at DSS in Orlando, FL, was Jay Cohen, undersecretary for Science and Technology in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, whose plenary talk covered the big picture plans for new technology development. There was also a very interesting historical perspective on Innovation and the Wealth of Nations by QinetiQ Chairman Sir John Chisholm and an inspiring talk on preparing school kids for careers in science and technology by Delores M. Etter, former assistant secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition.

At the same meeting, it was also my pleasure to present the Society Gold Medal Award to M.J. Soileau. M.J. has been a strong supporter of optics and laser education and an important player in helping to grow the industry, both for new applications as well as new educational venues. One other award I would like to highlight is the SPIE Early Career Achievement Award given for the first time this year. It was presented to Sanjay Krishna of the University of New Mexico.

SPIE Europe Photonics Europe, held in Strasbourg, France, this year, is a much newer conference for us, but it continues to grow. One particular interesting aspect of this event is the Innovation Village where entrepreneurs show us their latest ideas and compete for prize money. Our members in Europe have made this an essential pan-European event for the most innovative minds working in optics, photonics, and imaging. If you live in Europe or travel there regularly, I encourage you to get involved with SPIE events in Europe.

I also made several visits to our industry partners in Europe, meeting with TRUMPF (which just opened a new plant in the United States), Schott, Leica Camera, and Jenoptik to name a few. I found a lot of support for what SPIE is doing and an interest to become more engaged in driving future activities of the Society.

A common challenge we are hearing from industry is connecting with prospective, new employees. To address this need, we are looking to enhance our interactions with our student chapters and early career professionals so as to provide more face-to-face meeting opportunities with industry representatives.

People often tell me that interaction with colleagues and new friends is one of the key benefits of participating in SPIE events. What do you think are key benefits of Society activities? We welcome your input on all Society activities and benefits.

With all the activity going on in such areas as solar energy, biosciences, and green technology, this is an exciting time to be involved. I look forward to meeting with many of you at SPIE Optics+Photonics, 10-14 August, where many of these topics will be discussed.

Kevin Harding
2008 SPIE President

Have a question or comment about this article? Write to us at SPIEprofessional@spie.org. 

DOI: 10.1117/2.4200807.13

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