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U.S. Advisory Committee to ICO

The National Academy of Sciences is the U.S. adhering body of the International Commission for Optics (ICO) and it maintains its relationship with the commission through the U.S. Advisory Committee (USAC)/ICO. ICO is an Affiliated Commission of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) and part of the International Council for Science (ICSU) that contributes to the progress and diffusion of knowledge in the field of optics.


Celebrate the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL 2015)
2015 IYL Logo2015 has been designated as the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL 2015). In proclaiming an International Year focusing on the topic of light science and its applications, the United Nations recognized the importance of raising global awareness about how light-based technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to global challenges in energy, education, agriculture and health.
In the United States, SPIE and the Optical Society of America (OSA), two of the sponsoring societies of the USAC-ICO, are helping to organize and coordinate U.S. participation in the International Year of Light. Information can be found on the SPIE and OSA webpages.
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) is also heavily involved in IYL and is sponsoring a cornerstone project IYL: Cosmic Light. The American Astronomical Society is working with SPIE, OSA, and U.S. astronomers on IYL activities. To learn more, please visit the USNC/IAU webpage.

ICO-23: General Congress of the International Commission for Optics
The International Commission for Optics held its triennial General Congress in Santiago de Compostela, Spain from August 26-29, 2014. This congress is ICO's most important scientific and technical meeting. The U.S. Delegation to the General Congress included H. Philip Stahl (chair), Duncan T. Moore, James Harrington, Erich Ippen, and Joseph J. Niemela. Reports from ICO members, international societies, and the ICO Bureau were received and discussed. In addition, the ICO/ICTP initiative for Central America, the Winter College on Optics and Photonics at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), and ICO co-sponsorship and endorsement of various international conferences and schools were reviewed. Further information on all of these are all contained in Towards ICO-23.

The U.S. was also pleased that Jim Harrington was reelected as ICO Treasurer, and that Joseph Niemela, a U.S. physicist currently working at ICTP, was elected Vice President. Duncan Moore will serve as Past President for the next three years.

Light Our Future: The National Photonics Initiative
The U.S. Advisory Committee for Optics, through its participating societies,continues to support the National Photonics Initiative, which grew out of the NRC report, Harnessing Light II, Optics and Photonics: Essential Technologies for our Nation, released in 2013. The committee was instrumental in the early stages of the report, writing a white paper which outlined the need to update the original Harnessing Light report (1998). The white paper eventually served as the basis for the study.
Harnessing Light II provides a current assessment of optics, photonics, and optical engineering in the United States, prioritizes research grand-challenge questions to fill technological gaps, and recommends actions to support global leadership in photonics-driven industry. The report, conducted by the NRC Board on Manufacturing and Engineering Design, recommended that the federal government develop a "National Photonics Initiative" to bring together academia, industry, and government to steer federal research and development funding and activities.
Following one of the report's key recommendations, SPIE and four other photonics and optics societies launched the National Photonics Initiative (NPI), a collaborative alliance among industry, academia and government. The NPI effort is being led by founding sponsors SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, and The Optical Society (OSA), and sponsored by three additional societies -- the American Physical Society (APS), the IEEE Photonics Society, and the Laser Institute of America (LIA). As noted on the NPI website, the goals of the Initiative are to: • raise awareness of photonics and the impact of photonics in our everyday lives • increase cooperation and coordination among US industry, government and academia to advance photonics-driven fields • drive US funding and investment in areas of photonics critical to maintaining US economic competitiveness and national security.

Activities and Events
Resource Links
ICO Webpage
Contact the USAC/ICO

Kathie Bailey, Director
Pam Gamble, Administrative Associate

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number PHY-1318107. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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