CLEO `98 enjoys record attendance and "cross-cultural" links
The 1998 Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO; San Francisco, CA) was the largest ever with total attendance exceeding 7000. This included about 2000 technical and more than 1900 exhibit-only attendees, as well as exhibitor personnel, short-course attendees, and those at the special sessions on Lasers in Electro-Optics and Photonics (LEAP) that link the sciences of optics and photonics to current applications. The LEA¥sessions were especially well attended, according to Donald Scifres, chairman, president, and CEO of SDL Inc. (San Jose, CA), and one of the general chairs for the program committee. A primary focus of the LEA¥program this year was attracting people from other scientific communities, as well as informing traditional CLEO attendees of relevant developments in other fields, explained Renny Fields of Aerospace Corp. (Los Angeles, CA), who was also one of the program chairs.
The need to cross traditional barriers in the optics community was also underscored at the meeting by Charles Shank, director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley, CA) and chair of the National Research Council Committee on Optical Science Engineering (COSE). Shank announced the long-awaited publication of the COSE report and summarized the conclusions during CLEO (see related news story on p. 15). Overall the technical meeting was not as highlight-oriented as it has been in the past, but tended to focus on subtle improvements throughout the field that are having an increasing impact on technological applications. Program cochair S. R. J. Brueck from the University of New Mexico attributed the shift to a "growing and maturing" of laser technology to meet a broad range of real-world needs and market applications.