Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from October, 2014

Scientific freedom award the latest honor for Omid Kokabee; calls for his release growing

We're sure he would have preferred a different path, but the contributions of Omid Kokabee to awareness of scientific responsibility are unmistakable. Last fall, he was named a recipient of the Andrei Sakharov Prize from the American Physical Society, and now the American Association for the Advancement of Science has announced Omid as the winner of the AAAS Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award for 2015.

Kokabee, a laser physicist and a member of SPIE, was imprisoned in his native Iran as he attempted to return to his PhD studies at the University of Texas at Austin after a visit to his family in Tehran, in February 2011. He was accused of conspiring with enemies of Iran, and convicted in a trial in May 2012. He was not allowed to meet with his lawyer.

Omid has continued his studies from prison, where he has written papers and submitted abstracts to professional meetings. Of course, he was not allowed to attend to present them. He's also been teaching -- English and ph…

Nine lessons from ‘clever’ nature that inspired photonics engineering

Spiders, fireflies, and pythons have all been responsible for inspiring solutions to challenges facing engineers working in light-based science and technology.
As Joseph Shaw, director of the Optical Technology Center at Montana State University, put it, “Nature has developed, very cleverly, some lessons on how to create the features that we desire in optical design.”
A highlight of the conference on Bioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication at SPIE Smart Structures and Nondestructive Evaluation early each year in San Diego is a visit from an animal ambassador and handlers from the San Diego Zoo’s Centre for Bioinspiration. The center’s mission is to advance the creation and development of nature-inspired products and processes that benefit humanity, wildlife, and habitats. Past years’ animal visitors have included:
Monty the Python [video 6:46], whose heat-seeking olfactory structures and hooked underside scales have helped inform engineering of thermal sensors and of mechanica…

Wanted: photonics ambassadors

Solving the challenges of the 21st century will depend as much on photonics as the 20th century's solutions depended on electronics.
Particles of light are the key ingredients for science and technology, from smartphones to medical imaging to synchrotrons. The United Nations’ International Year of Light initiative will show the world how optical and photonic technologies are vital to their futures and development of the whole society.
Some very big names have already gotten behind the initiative, and will be investing much time and considerable money in the effort. In addition to several professional societies who are Founding Partners, two companies and a professional society have signed on as Patrons, and a very long list of companies, research institutes, publications, universities, and associations are giving their support as well.
Even the Duke of York is getting involved, having declared his support as Patron in the UK.
And you, too, can be an ambassador for the Internation…