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    Women in Optics - 2008


    Kathleen RichardsonPhotonics West
    Women in Optics Presentation and Reception
    Tuesday 22 January 2008, 4:30 - 6:00pm
    San Jose, CA USA

    Advance in Novel Optical Materials: Function Drives Form
    Dr. Kathleen Richardson

    The Women in Optics session at Photonics West was, in the words of one attendee "Entertaining and informative, she (Richardson) emphasised the benefit of building your personal network, and shared many examples from her personal history." There were over 70 men and women in attendance for Dr. Kathleen Richardson's presentation on 'Advances in Novel Optical materials: Function Drives Form.

    Advance Lithography
    SPIE Women in Optics Lunch

    Tuesday 26 February 2008, 12:00 - 1:00pm
    San Jose, CA USA

    Women in Optics leaders urge involvement
    Get involved in organizing conference programs, SPIE Advanced Lithography Symposium Chair Roxann Engelstad advised those attending the Women In Optics (WiO) luncheon Tuesday in San Jose.
    Women in Optics
    More than 20 women engineers and scientists from companies such as Intel, Hitachi, Corning, Nikon, and IMB attended the luncheon, along with a student who drew applause when she said that she is "looking forward to working with the talented women in the room."

    Engelstad outlined SPIE's Women In Optics program, including upcoming and recent events, and presented new WiO posters and 2008 monthly planners featuring interviews with women in leading positions in optics and photonics industry, government, and academia.

    Through the WiO network, SPIE promotes personal and professional growth for women by providing community-building and networking opportunities, and encouraging young women to choose optics as a career.

    To become more involved in conference organization, start with the program committee, learn about the process, and move up to conference and symposium chair, Engelstad advised. While it is a significant commitment of time, it also is "a worthwhile and important role," she said.

    Engelstad and Elizabeth Dobisz, both of whom are SPIE Fellows, were thanked by SPIE and other luncheon attendees for their work in SPIE events and support of the WiO network

    Women in Optics Lunch at SPIE Defense and SecurityDefense and Security
    SPIE Women in Optics Lunch
    Monday 17 March 2008, 12 - 1:00pm
    Orlando, FL USA

    This SPIE hosted luncheon at Defense and Security provided attendees with an opportunity to network with other optics professionals, generate new contacts, and expand their resources and referrals.

    More than 30 attended the Women in Optics luncheon, many returnees, and all enjoyed the opportunity to network. Left to right, Meimei Tidrow, Missile Defense Agency, and Manijeh Razeghi, Northwestern University.

    Photonics Europe
    SPIE Women in Optics Presentation and Reception

    Wednesday 9 April 2008, 6:30 - 8:00pm
    Strasbourg, France

    Prof. Maria YzuelProf. Maria Yzuel, SPIE President-Elect, welcomed attendees to the Women in Optics presentation and reception at Photonics Europe. Over twenty-five individuals turned out for fabulous French hors d'oeuvres and the chance to hear Katarina Svanberg, SPIE Fellow and Board member, discuss her work in cancer research at Lunch University.

    Laser Metrology
    SPIE Women in Optics Lunch
    Wednesday 2 July 2008, 12:30 to 1:30pm

    Invited Speaker: Dr. Rachel Won Editor, Nature Photonics

    Pictured from left to right: Oi Choo Chee, Prof. Anand Asundi (conference chairman), Kevin Harding (SPIE 2008 President), Dr. Won Rachel, Prof. Tian Ailing

    The Women in Optics lunch meeting was held at the 9th Laser Metrology International conference, in Singapore. The attendees included the 2008 SPIE President Kevin Harding, the Conference Chairman Prof. Anand Asundi, Oi Choo Chee, representing Singapore and conference delegates, both women and men. Over 40 people were present for lunch and the talk. Prof. Tian Ailing, of Xi'an Technological University of China, presided over the conference.

    The invited speaker Rachel Won is an associate editor of Nature Photonics and is based in Tokyo. Her talk, "Communicating photonics with the public" described her adventure in optics from research to journalism. Rachel reviewed her different roles in the world of optics starting from the early stage as a research student through to becoming an optics engineer and a research commercialization consultant, and how the exposure to those different environments helped her in her current position as an editor. In particular, she talked of her experience on bridging the gap between university and industry, and science publishing and editing. A brief introduction to Nature Photonics also was presented.

    Rachel's talk was well presented and there was an active question and answer session. The questions varied from how she got started in this and why she chose optics over journalism - her two interests to publication in Nature and the process which enables these publication to have a high impact factor.

    SPIE Women in Optics Presentation and Reception

    San Diego, CA
    Monday 11 August 2008, 5:00 to 6:30pm
    Convention Center Room 13

    Women in Optics speaker urges new strategies for communicating science to more diverse and larger audiences.
    Scientists need the public to understand what they're doing, so that good personal and public policy decisions can be made in an increasingly technologically driven world, science writer Margaret Wertheim told an overflow audience at the Women in Optics reception Monday evening. Wertheim said that while understanding science and in particular physics provides a way of understanding ourselves, there is also the "beauty, wonder, and power" of science to appreciate.

    But, she added, all too often the public doesn't know enough science to understand what scientists are talking about. On top of that, popular science magazines reach only relatively small numbers of readers who comprise a narrow demographic of college-educated men over age 40, and only two mainstream U.S. newspapers have dedicated science sections. Science communicators - both science writers and commentators as well as scientists themselves - can most effectively bridge the gap by remembering that non-scientists frequently have a very low level of knowledge, and want to know how the information will be relevant in their own lives.

    Wertheim has authored books on the cultural impacts of physics, written for numerous science anthologies and publications (she currently contributes to the New York Times and Los Angeles Times), lectured widely at universities and colleges around the world, and has won several awards for science writing.

    She co-founded the Institute For Figuring (IFF), which promotes public understanding of the poetic and aesthetic dimensions of science and mathematics. One project of the IFF is creation of a crochet coral reef traveling exhibition which currently is at the Hayward Gallery in London, UK. Wertheim shared examples of pieces from the exhibit. Each is a model of the hyperbolic plane, which occurs in nature in coral reefs, flowers, and elsewhere.