The USAC/ICO serves as a catalyst for U.S. involvement in ICO and links U.S. researchers in all subfields of optics to international activities. The value of USAC/ICO activities to the optics community and its societies is reflected in the commitments and investments made by these societies.
Major activities supported by the USAC/ICO include:
Revisiting Harnessing Light
Over the last year, a major priority for the U.S. Advisory Committee for Optics has been to raise awareness of the need to update the 1998 NRC report Harnessing Light. That report only captured the importance of optics and photonics but also described the major challenges facing the field. The USAC is working closely with The National Academies’ National Materials Advisory Board (NMAB) on this project. Approval for a new study has been granted by the National Academy of Sciences’ Governing Board, and fundraising is well underway.
Read more about the importance of this project.
The ICTP Winter College on Optics
The Abdus Salam International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) and the International Commission for Optics organize the annual Winter College on Optics in Trieste, Italy. The theme varies from year to year, but the format always features lectures by international experts, internal seminars and group discussions, and laboratory demonstrations.
For more information about past Winter Colleges, visit the ICTP calendar page.
Education & Training Conferences
Biannual Education and Training in Optics and Photonics (ETOP) conferences bring together leading optics and photonics educators from all levels to discuss, demonstrate and learn about new developments and approaches to teaching in these fields in these fields. The USAC/ICO joined ICO, OSA, SPIE, and IEEE/LEOS in sponsoring the 2009 ETOP conference, which was held July 5-7, 2009 in St. Asaph, North Wales, UK. With NSF sponsorship, the USAC/ICO sent 12 American educators to the conference.
The ETOP conference addresses topics at the pre-college, technician, and two-year, four-year and graduate level. Because optics and photonics is an active and dynamic field, instructors at all levels must regularly renew their skills in order to meet the growing demands of research, science and industry. Typical sessions at the ETOP conferences include:
• training and laboratory materials for demonstrations
• training and continuing education in collaboration with industry
• education in geometrical optics, quantum optics technologies for integrated diffractive optics
• software for teaching
• computer assisted learning
• curriculum development laboratories for optics and photonics education
• education and training for inter- and multidisciplinary applications
SPIE, one of the USAC sponsoring societies, posts all conference online. See http://spie.org/etop/ to access the proceedings from the 2009 and preceeding conferences.
Active Learning in Optics and Photonics (ALOP) Workshops
The USAC/ICO has joined UNESCO and the International Society of Optical Engineering (SPIE) in sponsoring Active Learning in Optics and Photonics (ALOP) workshops. These week-long teacher training events for physics teachers from universities and senior high schools are typically held in developing countries since optics and photonics are among the few experimental physics areas that have been found to be relevant and adaptable to research and educational conditions in those countries. To date, workshops have been held or scheduled in the following countries: Ghana and the Philippines (2004); Tunisia (2005); Morocco and India (2006); Tanzania, Brazil, and Mexico (2007); Zambia and Cameroon (2008), and Chile and Nepal (2009). For 2010, workshops are planned in Chile, Senegal and Algeria. Each workshop attracts a number of participants from surrounding countries.
Previously, ALOP workshop materials were available only in English and French. In 2009, an unofficial Spanish version was used for the first time. The workshop in Colombia was the first conducted in Spanish using Spanish-speaking facilitators. A second Spanish-language workshop was held in Chile in January 2010.
Learn more in the attached PowerPoint Presentation (9.9MB).
ICO Triennial Congresses
The ICO Congress is a triennial meeting where new officials are elected, new initiatives discussed, and the agenda set for the next three years. The last Congress (ICO-22) was held in held in Puebla, Mexico on August 15-19, 2011.
USAC Annual Meetings
The USAC/ICO meets twice a year. These meetings focus on USAC/ICO's activities as a national and international liaison to ICO for the U.S. optics community, with the goal of raising the profile of optical sciences and technology.