SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION: Honoring Optics Leaders through Student Recognition Programs

Feb. 19, 2010
Honoring the achievements of science leaders and encouraging the next generation of high achievers are priorities for many nonprofit organizations.

Spotlight on inspiring the next generation of scientists and business leaders

Honoring the achievements of science leaders and encouraging the next generation of high achievers are priorities for many nonprofit organizations. Such is the case with the Optical Society of America Foundation (OSAF). During the 2009 Frontiers in Optics (FiO)/Optical Society (OSA) Annual Meeting, the Foundation held the first annual Emil Wolf Outstanding Student Paper Competition and presented the Harvey M. Pollicove Memorial Scholarship.

The Wolf award, which is given for innovation, research excellence, and presentation skills, was established in 2008 to mark the 50th consecutive year in which Dr. Emil Wolf, Professor of Optics at the University of Rochester, NY, presented a technical paper at the OSA Annual Meeting, and to honor his many contributions to science and the OSA. The award is sponsored by Optics Communications, published by Elsevier, a publisher of scientific, technical, and medical information products and services. Additional support was provided by the University of Rochester Physics Department, the Institute of Optics, Physical Optics Corporation, and individual contributors.

Seven awardees, representing the FiO conference tracks, received a complimentary one-year OSA student membership, a $300 USD award stipend, and an award certificate.

The 2009 Wolf Award winners are:

  • Christopher Barsi, “Digital Reconstruction of Optically Induced Potentials,” Princeton University, USA. (Subcommittee: General Optics in Information Science)
  • Amber Beckley, “Polarimetry Using Stress-Engineered Optical Elements,” University of Rochester, USA. (Subcommittee: Polarization and Birefringence in Optical Design)
  • Daniel Herrmann, “Generation of Sub-Three-Cycle, 16-TW Light Pulses through Noncollinear OPCPA,” Max-Planck Institut für Quantenoptik, Germany. (Subcommittee: Extreme Light Sources)
  • Henrique Pires, “Direct Measurement of Transverse Mode Entanglement in Two-Photon States,” Huygens Laboratory, Leiden University, the Netherlands. (Subcommittee: Quantum Electronics)
  • Volker Sorger, “Plasmonic Nano-Laser below the Diffraction Limit,” NSF Nanoscale Science and Engineering Centre, University of California, Berkeley, USA. (Subcommittee: Photonics)
  • Neil Terry, “Angle-Resolved Low Coherence Interferometry for Endoscopic Detection of Dysplasia in Barrett’s Esophagus,” Duke University, USA. (Subcommittee: Tissue Imaging and Spectroscopy)
  • Xin Wei, “Off-Axis Estimation of Ocular Aberrations via Scanning Shack-Hartmann Wavefront-Sensor,” School of Optometry, Indiana University, USA. (Subcommittee: Vision and Color)

The Harvey M. Pollicove Memorial Scholarship was established in 2005 through the generous support of the H.M. Pollicove Memorial Fund, along with contributions from Harvey Pollicove’s friends and colleagues and OSAF matching funds. The annual scholarship honors Pollicove’s work in the field of precision optics manufacturing.

The scholarship is available to undergraduate or graduate students who are accepted or enrolled at least half-time in an optics manufacturing program at a participating institution. Candidates are judged on academic excellence, leadership skills, innovation and forward thinking, and outstanding communication skills. The scholarship rotates among a group of universities: the University of Rochester, the University of Arizona-Tucson, and the University of Central Florida-Orlando.

Katie Schwertz, who is currently pursuing a master’s degree in optical sciences at the University of Arizona-Tucson, received a $4,000 scholarship to help defray the cost of tuition as the 2009 winner of the Harvey M. Pollicove Memorial Scholarship. Swertz is researching the tradeoffs between price and tighter tolerances on manufactured optics. “Making tradeoffs between price and perfection are some of the most common, and most important, decisions made during any lens design process,” said Schwertz in her scholarship application. “I hope to eventually publish my work so lens designers can make more quantitative decisions regarding their designs and tolerances, and possibly expand it to other areas, including IR optics, UV optics, plastics, and large optics.”

The OSA Foundation web site provides information about these and other programs. Foundation staff may be contacted directly (e-mail: [email protected], phone: 202-416-1421).

The OSA Foundation, created in 2002, is dedicated to supporting programs that advance youth science education, provide optics education and resources to underserved populations, provide career and professional development resources, and recognize technical and business excellence. Contributions to the Foundation, a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, are deductible as provided by law. All donors receive special recognition and acknowledgements, unless they request to be anonymous. Donations to the OSA Foundation are matched dollar for dollar by the Optical Society. For more information, please contact the OSA development staff via telephone (202-416-1421) or e-mail ([email protected]). OSA recommends you contact a tax advisor for assistance with any form of giving.

GRACE KLONOSKI is the senior director, Foundation, Membership & Education Services for the Optical Society of America, 2010 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20036; e-mail: [email protected];

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