Written by Dom Siriani
I’m very excited to be attending this year’s Frontiers in Optics. Not only do I get to reunite with many amazing friends and colleagues, but I also anticipate seeing some excellent presentations. I’ve already started perusing the conference program and was very pleased to see that one of the special symposia is “The Future of Optics: A Perspective at Emil Wolf’s 90th Birthday.”
In my graduate studies at University of Illinois, I was taught by a former student, now colleague of Professor Wolf, and the text by Leonard Mandel and Emil Wolf (Optical Coherence and Quantum Optics) is one of my favorite references, both for work and any little “hobby” research I like to play around with. So, Emil Wolf has had a very significant, even though indirect, influence on my relationship with optics.
The symposium covers several interesting and pertinent topics: the future of inverse problems, the future of optics at the University of Rochester, the future of coherence and quantum optics, and the future of physical optics. I’m eager to attend all these talks, although inverse problems and coherence theory are particularly close to my heart.
Even though I never performed any research related to inverse problems in optics, I did learn a bit about them in my graduate studies and found their complexity and extraordinary utility fascinating. Inverse problems in optics span such a wide range of applications, including medical, security, and other sensing-centric areas. I look forward to hearing about the state-of-the-art applications of these techniques… and I expect I’ll get a good mathematics refresher as well!
I’m also aware of the rich history of University of Rochester, and especially its important role in optics. However, I can’t say I know too many of the details, so I’m hoping that the Rochester presentation will provide me with some background. And, course, I’d very much like to hear about any novel research that is ongoing at the university.
Coherence theory has been particularly useful and interesting to me for several years. It provided a great framework to help my work when I performed research on coherent laser arrays, and I still find myself pondering coherence theory questions I formulate to myself just for the fun of it. Quantum optics goes hand-in-hand with this topic, and it would be remiss for me not to mention this quickly growing field. Since I get to dabble in these areas but don’t really go to any great depth, it always blows me away to see what is going on in the field.
And last but not least, is the study of physical optics. It seems to me that this topic could span an enormous amount of optics research, since it covers most of the fundamental properties of light (interference, diffraction, polarization, etc.), and I’m not quite sure of all the research that specifically falls under this category. But that’s one of the great aspects of Frontiers in Optics: there’s no shortage of things for me to learn. It helps get me out of my comfort zone and really delve into some very different problems and research areas. With the amazing group of scientists lined up to give these presentations, I have no doubt it will be an enlightening and enriching experience.
Disclaimer: Opinions, interpretations, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by the United States Government and MIT Lincoln Laboratory.
Posted: 7/26/2012 1:21:37 PM by
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