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Looking forward to the Plenary (Part I)

Written by Nicole Moore

The plenary speakers this year at FiO are David Williams and Paul Corkum.  Today, I want to discuss why I’m particularly excited to hear David William’s talk on the morning of Monday, October 15. (We’ll get to Paul Corkum’s talk in a bit.)
I obtained my PhD at the Institute of Optics at the University of Rochester, where David Williams is the William G. Allyn Professor of Medical Optics.  While I was there, I had the pleasure of hearing talks by several of his students in a variety of venues including FiO 2008.  All of their individual work has been extremely interesting, so I expect the overview and synthesis of those individual strains of research (and perhaps others) is likely to be captivating.
Perhaps more importantly, the word “optics” immediately conjures up the thought of eyes in many people, likely due to the familiarity of the word “optician.” [There is the small chance it will provoke thoughts of fiber optics.]  While many of our (myself, in particular) research does not pertain to vision, I have come to the conclusion that the eye is a great place to start if we want to talk to people about optics.
My experience with undergraduate students suggests that, especially among non-physics majors, the study of the eye enlivens optics for them.  The eye serves as a good way to start talking about lenses (both corrective and naturally occurring) and image formation, color, and detectors.  Using the eye as a starting point, we can reach an astonishing variety of other interesting topics and, hopefully, get our students, families, friends and neighbors as excited about what we’re doing as we are.
As such, I’m looking forward to this talk because I hope to enrich my knowledge of vision and the eye, which in turn will enrich my conversations about optics with my many colleagues, friends and students for whom those topics are their main connection to optics.

Posted: 8/2/2012 10:20:24 AM by Nicole Moore | with 0 comments

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