Message from the SPIE President: A Year of Excellent Vision

01 January 2020

I am excited to begin my term as your SPIE President. This is a significant responsibility and I pledge to represent SPIE and its members and constituents to the best of my ability. I also welcome you to the inaugural issue of our new bimonthly SPIE Membership magazine, Photonics Focus. We hope that this magazine will help keep you up to date with what is going on with SPIE, but more importantly, highlight some of our activities and accomplishments.

For those of you who live in countries that use imperial measures, you certainly noted that the title of this article is a play on the measurement of visual acuity. The unit 20/xx implies that you can identify a set of characters at 20 feet, when the standard observer can identify them at xx feet. In these units, 20/20 implies that you match the standard observer and therefore have good vision. If your visual acuity is 20/200, you have to be ten times closer to the target than the standard observer, indicating that your vision is degraded.

For about half of our Membership, this attempt at humor means absolutely nothing because in metric countries, a measure of good visual acuity is 6/6. Twenty feet is approximately equal to six meters. This simple situation is a great reminder that SPIE is truly an international society!

Our programs and services must meet the needs of the global community, and our international meetings are a great example of that. Of the 20 meetings and conferences that SPIE will organize in 2020, 10 of them will be held outside of the US. But that is just the start as SPIE partners with and supports conferences of many national optics societies.

Another example of our international presence is that out of our 334 Student Chapters, 254 are international as are 75 percent of our Student Members. In addition, international users account for roughly 70 percent of the downloads from the SPIE Digital Library.

We are working hard to serve the global optics and photonics community, and I invite you to contact me if there are things that we can be doing better.

So, whether it is 6/6 or 20/20, let's have a great year.

John Greivenkamp

John E. Greivenkamp

2020 SPIE President

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