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Showing posts from September, 2012

Gender bias? In photonics?

Yes, this excerpt from a study on gender bias in science is from this year, 2012:
“Despite efforts to recruit and retain more women, a stark gender disparity persists within academic science."
The recent study from Yale University involving several institutions investigated gender bias on the part of faculty in biology, chemistry, and physics, and found that male and female faculty were just as likely to: judge a female student to be less competent and less worthy of being hired than an identical male studentoffer her a smaller starting salary and less career mentoringappear to be affected by “enduring cultural stereotypes about women’s lack of science competence” that translate into biases in student evaluation and mentoringand yet … report liking the female more than the male student.
“I think we were all just a little bit surprised at how powerful the results were -- that not only do the faculty express these biases quite clearly, but the significance and strength of the resul…

‘Golden Geese’ and essential technologies: optics and photonics!

Photonics enjoyed the spotlight in Washington, D.C., last week
First, on Wednesday morning leaders from the optics and photonics community give an enthusiastic launch to the new National Research Council report “Optics and Photonics, Essential Technologies for Our Nation,” aided by Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and former Intel CEO Craig Barrett.
Chu and Barrett were featured speakers at a briefing for agency leaders. Their remarks included references to several important benefits enabled by photonics: economic strength sustainable energy sources new methods for medical detection and treatment of diseases and chronic conditions more efficient lighting, computing, manufacturing, automobiles, and very much more. Wednesday afternoon, the House R&D caucus heard from leaders of four societies in the sector about the report’s findings on economic impacts of optics and photonics, the importance of improved STEM education, and the committee’s recommendations on particular technology di…

Photonics for fun and games -- and serious business!

A clear and present interest in using optical sciences and photonics to better our world shone through (no pun intended) at the Photonics for a Better World pavilion and other activities at SPIE Optics and Photonics last month in San Diego. Organizations are making dedicated efforts to improve the future of photonics, increase awareness in science education and improve the global community, and even to teach us how to have fun with photonics!
The other Olympics: Optics Outreach!

Nearly 220 people attended the Optics Outreach Olympics on Sunday 5 August. Teams from 16 Student Chapters from 9 different countries competed against each other by presenting their best optics outreach demonstrations that they use to teach children at schools about optics. The goal was to showcase effective, original educational activities that promote science education. In 2011, SPIE Student Members promoted science outreach to over 9,000 young students.
This year, the winning demonstrations included “The Ma…