Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from June, 2012

The laser: a solution looking for problems?

This is just the sort of thing Theodore Maiman said he had in mind when was interviewed 50 years ago, after being the first to successfully demonstrate the laser: medical procedures that would change or even save lives in ways as yet unimagined.
This time, the laser has been used to perform surgery on an unborn fetus.
Surgeons at the University of Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital reported they have performed the first-ever in utero surgery on a fetus. A rare tumor diagnosed about halfway through the pregnancy via ultrasound was removed from the roof of the mouth using laesr technology. A few months later, the baby was born at full-term and healthy.
Never mind that one newspaper at the time called Maiman’s pioneering ruby laser “a solution in search of a problem.” Applications have been developed in nearly every facet of life, and the list of medical solutions that lasers provide is impressive.
Starting from the beginning, medical applications of lasers were life-enhancing -- removi…

Not just about star-gazing: Astronomy changes our lives

Through the capabilities of optics and photonics, astronomical telescopes and instrumentation systems have vastly increased humankind’s knowledge about the physical composition and history of the universe -- including our own planet and its natural phenomena.
And, again thanks to optics and photonics, these mind-bending data and dazzling images are not the purview of only astronomers and physicists. Images in particular -- arriving at Earth, as Nobel Laureate Saul Perlmutter observed in a recent talk, on light that left its origin in the cosmos in some cases before our solar system was formed-- are rendered on desktops and television screens everywhere, bringing the furthest reaches of space into homes, classrooms and offices.
Of course, new information prompts new questions.
Theorists such as Stephen Hawking pondering a Theory of Everything to explain some of those unanswered questions look for clues in the results of past and present missions such as the Hubble Space Telescope and …

Hot topics, cool school: Next-generation medical imaging at NUI Galway

(SPIE Member Jijo Ulahannan, assistant professor at Government College Kasaragod in India, is among students at the biophotonics and imaging graduate summer school 7-13 June at the National University of Ireland [NUI] Galway. He filed this guest blog with a first-hand report.)

The international Biophotonics and Imaging Graduate Summer School (BIGSS 2012) is underway in the beautiful coastal city of Galway focusing on two of the hottest topics in the field of biophotonics, namely optical coherence tomography (OCT) and photoacoustic imaging.
About 30 graduate students and early career professionals are here for the event, which is organized by the NUI Galway Applied Optics group and chaired by Professor Martin Leahy who also leads the National Biophotonics Platform Ireland. Major sponsors are SPIE and Photonics4Life.

The summer school brings the past, present and trends for the future of biophotonics and microscopic imaging techniques to aspiring young graduates and post-doctoral fellow…