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Showing posts from June, 2015

Concluding Biophotonics ’15: just the right amount

Guest blog from Ven: Jacqueline Andreozzi, a PhD candidate at Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College, blogged on her experience at the Biophotonics Graduate Summer School on the island of Ven, off the southern coast of Sweden, 6-13 June. SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, and COST, the European Cooperation in Science and Technology, are among sponsors of the school. Also supporting the school are DTU Fotonik, Technical University of Denmark; Lund Laser Centre; NKT Photonics A/S; Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, through its Nobel Institute for Physics; and Thorlabs.
Reflecting back on the Biophotonics ’15 Graduate Summer School, one word, new to my vocabulary, comes to mind: “lagom.” The Swedish expression, as I was informed by fellow student Johan Borglin on the first day while touring Lund University, translates roughly to the concept of “just the right amount.”
Indeed, the school provided lagom in every aspect of the week, from the scholarship, to…

‘People’s Choice’ highlights: Astronomy and the night sky

Humans have been improving photography since Aristotle’s first observation of a pinhole camera in 350 BC, with milestones such as the introduction of the Lumière brothers' panchromatic plate in 1894 and Willard Boyle and George Smith’s invention of the charge-coupled device (CCD) in 1969.
Today, improvements to digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras, which combine optics with digital imaging sensors, have introduced astrophotography to the wider public. Since its establishment in 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope has used astrophotography to render inspiring images of planets, stars, and solar systems.
In the photo above, Alexander Stepanenko has used astrophotography techniques to capture the aurora borealis -- the northern lights. The fascinating phenomenon is caused by the collision of solar wind and magnetospheric-charged particles in high-altitude atmosphere.
Using a DSLR camera (Nikon D-800), Stepanenko captured the photons and thermal noise of the northern lights. Wilder…

Goal-line technology gets a workout at FIFA Women's World Cup

‘People’s Choice’ highlights: Go solar!

Optical technologies and the people who work with them have brought tangible social, environmental, health, and economic gains to humanity. A prime example is the solar cooker, designed for sunny and dry climates. Varieties of these have provided thousands of people with alternative sources for cooking fuel. The top five countries with ideal solar cooking climates are India, China, Pakistan, Ethiopia, and Nigeria.
In the photo above, Sandipan Mukherjee demonstrates the popular use of solar cookers in a remote village in Nubra Valley, India. Off the national power grid, Nubra Valley is tucked away in a high-altitude, cold desert between the Himalaya and Karakoram mountain ranges. Solar-based technology plays a crucial role inthe village. Although it can be bitterly cold in Turtuk during the winter, the area still receives strong sun rays.
The three types of solar cookers are heat-trap boxes, curved concentrators, and panel cookers. The solar cooker shown above is a curved concentrator…

Restoring art and culture of the past -- with photonics

Ramesh Raskar, a computational photography expert at the MIT Media Lab, and two students used the idea of light projection in helping to develop a method for art conservation, writing software to isolate the images’ colors one pixel at a time and restore the look of a set of Rothko murals.
For the exhibition Mark Rothko’s Harvard Murals, showing through 26 July at the Harvard Art Museums, Raskar and his team worked with art historians, conservation scientists, and conservators to develop digital projection technology that restores the appearance of the murals’ original rich colors.
The artworks had faded while on display in the 1960s and ’70s in a penthouse dining room on the Harvard University campus, for which they were commissioned. Deemed unsuitable for exhibition, the murals entered storage in 1979 and since then had rarely been seen by the public.
The team compared images of the murals in the new gallery to the restored photograph of the original. The software creates a compensa…

Entrepreneurship is the theme for Biophotonics '15 on Ven

Guest blog from Ven: Jacqueline Andreozzi, a PhD candidate at Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College, is blogging from the Biophotonics Summer School on the island of Ven, off the southern coast of Sweden, this week. SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, and COST, the European Cooperation in Science and Technology, are among sponsors of the school.
Also supporting the school are DTU Fotonik, Technical University of Denmark; Lund Laser Centre; NKT Photonics A/S; Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, through its Nobel Institute for Physics; and Thorlabs.
    “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the
    work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
This quote, cited in Dr. Eric Swanson’s keynote lecture series at the 2015 International Summer School in Biophotonics, embodies the opportunity to learn, network, and perhaps most importantly, inspire, that the organi…