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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.


Light Our Future: The National Photonics Initiative
The U.S. Advisory Committee for Optics, through its participating societies, is actively supporting the National Photonics Initiative, which grows 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.

2015 Proclaimed the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL 2015)
The United Nations' General Assembly has designated 2015 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 has 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. The IYL Global Secretariat at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) will play a central role in coordinating the actions of the international scientific community and stakeholders with the UNESCO International Basic Sciences Programme. A selection of IYL 2015 resources, including press releases, can be found on the website of the European Physical Society.

ICO-23: General Congress of the International Commission for Optics
Location: Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Duration: August 26-29, 2014
Description: This congress is ICO's most important scientific and technical meeting. It is organized every three years and reports on the latest advances and innovations in optics and related areas. During the 2014 General Congress, top-level specialists delivered keynote speeches and commercial company exhibitors were present. The U.S. Delegation to the General Congress included H. Philip Stahl, Duncan T. Moore, James Harrington, Erich Ippen, and Joseph J. Niemela. 

Highlights of ICO-23 included:
  • Jim Harrington was reelected as ICO Treasurer.
  • Joseph J. Niemela, a U.S. physicist currently working at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy was elected Vice President.
Learn more by consulting ICO's website.

Upcoming SPIE Events

SPIE Photonics West 2015
SPIE Photonics West 2015 will be held February 7-12, 2015 in San Francisco, CA. The conference will include 20,000 attendees, two exhibitions, and 1,250 exhibiting companies. Papers will be presented in a range of topics that include biomedical optics, biophotonics, translational research, industrial lasers, 3D printing, optoelectronics, microfabrication, and MOEMS-MEMS. Accepted research will be published in the SPIE Digital Library. More information can be found on the SPIE Photonics West 2015 conference website.

SPIE Optics + Photonics 2015: Abstract Deadline - January 26, 2015
SPIE Optics + Photonics 2015 will be held August 9-13, 2015 in San Diego, CA. SPIE Optics + Photonics is the largest international, multidisciplinary optical sciences and technology meeting in North America, with four symposia areas in 2015: NanoScience + Engineering, Optics + Photonics for Sustainable Energy, Organic Photonics + Electronics, and Optical Engineering + Applications. More than 3,200 technical presentations, 35 courses, 4,500 attendees, and 180 exhibiting companies are expected. The call for papers deadline is January 26, 2015. For more information, please consult the SPIE Optics + Photonics 2015 website.

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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