SPIE President’s Corner

Glenn Boreman encourages full engagement in the optics and photonics community.

01 April 2017
Glenn Boreman

Earlier this year, I attended the highly successful Photonics West in San Francisco. With record attendance, the importance of this meeting in driving innovation and entrepreneurship across the global photonics community was clear. The technical program featured some 4700 presentations covering all aspects of photonics, and in the exhibition, 1380 of the world’s leading companies displayed their latest products.

With presentations on topics ranging from biomedical optics to industrial applications, the meeting attracted the field’s leading scientists and engineers. A robust industry program was capped by the highly anticipated Prism Awards ceremony.

In other activities at Photonics West, budding entrepreneurs gave finely tuned pitches to potential funders in the SPIE Startup Challenge and Photonics Fast Pitch Lunch. A gathering of international cluster leaders reiterated the role SPIE plays in supporting innovation on a global scale.

On the exhibition floor, companies introduced their newest products, expressed their optimism at the current business climate, and talked about their need to hire talented staff.

I particularly enjoyed the exhibitor breakfast, at which the speaker, Josh Holly of the Podesta Group, encouraged those in attendance to become engaged with the new US administration over public policy. Holly gave what, in my opinion, was the best quote of the whole week: “If you don’t have a seat at the table, you are probably on the menu.”

A recording of that presentation, on navigating science, technology, and the budget in President Trump’s Washington, is available for readers of the SPIE public policy newsletter. (To subscribe or view online, go to spie.org/ppnews)


For me personally, a highlight of the meeting was the time I spent interacting with students during events such as the lively Student Chapter Leadership Workshop and Student Chapter meeting. I also enjoyed the informal discussions I had with students throughout the week.

The many activities SPIE organizes give students the opportunity to network with conference chairs, photonics industry executives, and other experts, and the connections that are made during these events are amazing. Photonics West certainly set the stage for what looks like a very promising year in our industry.

In the coming months, SPIE will hold meetings around the globe, serving the international community and covering some of the most exciting advances in our field. By the time you read this, we will have held our meetings on Advanced Lithography, Medical Imaging, and Smart Structures. The full calendar of upcoming SPIE conferences can be found online.

Meetings in later April include SPIE Technologies and Applications of Structured Light in Yokohama, Japan, and SPIE Optics + Optoelectronics in Prague where researchers developing the world’s largest lasers, including the European ELI Beamlines facility, will meet. In May, SPIE holds meetings in Spain and China, followed later in the year with activities in Germany, Poland, and Australia as well as in the US.

Many of these events include activities focused on student attendees, and I look forward to participating in some of those. In particular, SPIE Optics + Photonics in San Diego, CA (USA), will host the largest annual Student Chapter Leadership Workshop in August.

We invite all SPIE Student Chapter members to register for the student workshop at Optics + Photonics or the one in June at SPIE Optical Metrology in Munich. This all-day professional development training will include presentations on how to get the most out of a SPIE Student Chapter.

Whether part of a student activity, in one of our conferences or industry activities, or on the trade show floor, I hope that I have the opportunity to meet you in person to thank you for your contribution to our Society and to hear your views on how SPIE can improve the way we serve the global photonics community.

Glenn Boreman, 2017 SPIE President

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