By Patricia Daukantas
Days 3 and 4 (Tuesday and Wednesday) of Frontiers in Optics, OSA’s annual meeting, have been the chilliest and rainiest so far. Inside the Rochester Convention Center, however, the atmosphere has been sunny, as OSA members have been making and renewing friendships and learning from each other in a spirit of collegiality.
Tuesday’s highlight was a day-long symposium honoring the founding of NASA 50 years ago this month. A couple of the invited speakers were unable to attend because they’re working hard on the latest, non-optical troubles facing the Hubble Space Telescope (see my previous blog post here). The other speakers described the original 1993 remedy for Hubble’s defective primary mirror – a masterpiece of technological detective work if there every was one – as well as the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and planet-seeking coronagraphs that may or may not ever leave the NASA drawing boards. Several folks from the JWST team had to leave after the symposium for a telescope team meeting in San Francisco; it was awesome that they were able to give us their time on the way there.
At Tuesday’s OSA Member Reception, President Rod Alferness reminded the gathering that this is the 50th consecutive Annual Meeting at which the University of Rochester’s own Emil Wolf is presenting a paper. Besides his invited talk on Wednesday morning, Wolf is a co-author on six other papers. Truly indefatigable. (Incidentally, in future years the OSA Foundation will hold a Student Paper Competition dedicated to Emil Wolf.)
The reception ended with dozens of young members piling on the dais and posing for group photos in front of the “Welcome to OSA Student Chapters” banner. Undoubtedly, these smiling grad students will in 20 years become the entrepreneurs and professors who will mentor a whole other generation of optical scientists.
Wednesday’s highlights include a symposium on polarized light, the Minorities and Women in OSA luncheon, and postdeadline papers in the evening.
2008-10 October, Astronomy