Science education, altruism, and advocacy for the vital role optics and photonics plays in our society were major themes as SPIE members gathered in San Diego, CA, in August for the SPIE Annual General Meeting.
SPIE leaders and members remain focused on the Society’s educational mission, providing $2.7 million in support of optics education and outreach programs in 2011 and supplying strong leadership at numerous international events and programs advancing the science and application of light-based technologies.
SPIE officers reported on the 2012 SPIE election results, numerous activities supported by the Society in 2011 and 2012, and the financial status of the Society at the meeting, held in conjunction with SPIE Optics + Photonics.
SPIE president focused on youth
SPIE 2012President Eustace Dereniak discussed his efforts on recruiting youth into the photonics industry and the general global promotion of optics and photonics endeavors.
“I believe it is vital for the future of SPIE that we reach out to young people, via educational and promotional activities,” Dereniak explained, adding that SPIE’s international presence is also of great importance.
So far this year, Dereniak has attended SPIE Photonics West (San Francisco), the 25th anniversary of the Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers (CREOL, in Orlando, FL), the Council of Scientific Society Presidents’ meeting (Washington, DC), SPIE Photonics Europe (Brussels), SPIE Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation (Amsterdam), SPIE Defense, Security, and Sensing (Baltimore), Photonics North (Montreal), and the SPIE FOCUS Workshop (Singapore).
Dereniak’s report to the SPIE membership also covered SPIE altruistic activities, including the SPIE scholarship program, student chapters, student training, Early Career Professionals program, Women in Optics, free SPIE Digital Library subscriptions for developing nations, science fair support, student paper prizes, the SPIE Career Center, Hands-on Optics kits, free educational posters and DVDs, support for the Active Learning in Optics and Photonics (ALOP) program, and support for the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP).
He reported that SPIE spent 16% of its altruistic funds on educators and teaching tools in 2011, 30% on global and advocacy activities, 20% on scholarships and grants, and 34% on student and early career programs.
Dereniak explained his present emphasis:
- Reach out to pre-college students to generate more interest in future optics careers
- Increase industry involvement in SPIE via enhanced outreach/recruitment
- Evaluate the efficacy of future technologies for open access of SPIE publications
- Evaluate more effective ways of using funds allocated for altruistic activities
SPIE treasurer’s report
SPIE Secretary/Treasurer Brian Lula reported to the members that 2011 operating revenues of $35.7 million generated a $4.4 million operating surplus for the year.
Total revenue for 2011, including investments, was $35.9 million, which resulted in a total surplus of $3.9 million.
Lula said he was pleased with the healthy surplus and a doubling in five years of SPIE altruistic spending in support of optics education and outreach programs. Altruistic spending grows every year and has increased from $1.3 million in 2007 to $2.7 million in 2011.
Lula gave a presentation on the Society’s total assets, total liabilities, and net assets at the end of 2011, which were $76.2 million, $20.7 million, and $55.5 million, respectively.
He reported that SPIE investments rose from $53.6 million to $59.1 million, from 2010 to 2011, and the considerable amount of investment growth was attributable to SPIE’s continued positive operating performance.
A large amount of SPIE’s investments are extremely secure due to conservative investment management, Lula said. At the end of 2011, 8.4% of SPIE’s investments were in cash and money markets, 23.6% were in fixed income, and 67.3% were in equities.
At the end of 2011, SPIE had 15.4 months of liquid reserves, an amount approaching the Board-mandated goal of 18 months’ reserve, Lula said.
SPIE executive director’s report
SPIE Executive Director Eugene Arthurs also reviewed altruistic activities in his report along with membership trends. He also provided information on enhancements to the SPIE Digital Library and introduced the U.S. National Academies’ report, “Optics and Photonics: Essential Technologies for Our Nation.”
An update to the 1998 “Harnessing Light” report, the highly anticipated National Academies’ report was released 13 August, during SPIE Optics + Photonics, and assesses the current state of optics, photonics, and optical engineering in the United States. It identifies research grand-challenge questions to fill technological gaps and recommends actions to support global leadership in the photonics-driven industry.
To read the full report “Optics and Photonics: Essential Technologies for Our Nation,” download a PDF of the report summary, read related articles, and view related videos, visit www.opticsandphotonics.org.
The project was supported by funding from SPIE, as well as the Army Research Office; Air Force Office of Scientific Research; Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency; Department of Energy; National Institute of Standards and Technology; National Research Council; National Science Foundation; and the Optical Society of America.
Arthurs encouraged everyone in optics- and photonics-related fields to “get the message out” and become advocates for optics and photonics technologies. (See more from SPIE Professional on the report.)
The SPIE Digital Library, which launched on a new platform in August (See more from SPIE Professional on the SPIE Digital Library), remains the most cited resource in optics- and photonics-related patents in the world, Arthurs reported. Despite a 10% price rollback in 2010 and an additional 5% price rollback in 2012, SPIE Digital Library sales remain healthy. Even as libraries cut back, more institutions recognize the value of the SPIE Digital library and subscribe, he said.
Arthurs also provided a small sample of positive customer feedback about price rollbacks from institutional customers and discussed open-access programs.
As of July, membership in the Society topped 17,200. SPIE membership among students and early career professionals shows healthy growth, as do SPIE student chapters and clubs, he said. The majority of non-student members continue to come from industry, with the number of members from academia growing and those from government remaining fairly level.
Arthurs’ presentation also included highlights from SPIE events held in 2012 thus far, including the annual Student Chapter Leadership Workshop and the SPIE Optics Outreach Olympics at SPIE Optics + Photonics. He also summarized support provided by SPIE to the ICTP Winter College on Optics and the Active Learning in Optics and Photonics (ALOP) program.
The next Annual General Meeting will be 27 August 2013 in conjunction with SPIE Optics + Photonics in San Diego.
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