MS program geared to industry

I am a professor of physics at San Diego State University and am in charge of the Electro-optics Program in our physics department. We read your editorial in the September 1995 issue of Laser Focus World (OLet?s reinvent the Master?s Degree,O p. 196) with great interest and agree with your conclusions. Since the early 1970s, we have had such a MS-based program at SDSU in electro-optics. In fact, our entire undergraduate and MS curriculum is based on the premise that students might treat their de

MS program geared to industry

I am a professor of physics at San Diego State University and am in charge of the Electro-optics Program in our physics department. We read your editorial in the September 1995 issue of Laser Focus World (OLet?s reinvent the Master?s Degree,O p. 196) with great interest and agree with your conclusions. Since the early 1970s, we have had such a MS-based program at SDSU in electro-optics. In fact, our entire undergraduate and MS curriculum is based on the premise that students might treat their degrees as terminal degrees.

Our physics degree demands a certain number of required courses. However, we have designed a number of elective courses to fit into modules that allow students to gain sufficient experience in various specialities?one of which is electro-optics. Students take two lecture courses in optics, a laboratory course that covers seven different experiments in a variety of areas and a full-year thesis research project.

The lab is designed to give them hands-on experience in a number of areas of interest to electro-optics including fiberoptics, acousto-optics. electro-optics and polarization, physics of a laser, holography, pattern recognition, and spectroscopy. In each case, they work on an experiment for two weeks, learn all the theory, do a number of mini-experiments and write a comprehensive lab report. It?s an exhausting course, but very rewarding for the students.

The research project is an individual one and we have had a great deal of success in having the results published in refereed journals such as Applied Optics, Optics Letters, and Optical Engineering. Most graduates of this program have gone directly into industry where they, too, have been very successful. A smaller number of students have gone on to receive PhD degrees.

One key to our success has been the fact that we do not offer a PhD degree. Therefore the MS and BS students receive all of our attention. That often doesn?t happen with PhD-granting institutions where the PhD student will usually receive most of the attention and equipment.

Our Home Page on the World Wide Web has more information about our MS program (our www address is http://rohan.sdsu.gifdu/dept/physics/physics.html). We?d really appreciate it if you would consider linking the LFW web page to ours. Thanks and I hope we can make a difference.

Professor Jeffrey Davis

Physics Department

San Diego State University

San Diego, CA

Editor?s note: The link is already in place: see Useful Web Sites on the Laser Focus World Home Page at http://www.lfw.com

Chang series encouraging

to Ukraine entrepreneurs

We have just begun to receive Laser Focus World, and I want to take this opportunity to thank you very much. Your editorial pages are a sensible and valid view of things and problems. I share your opinion regarding the commercial direction of laser and optoelectronics technologies. Most research results remain unused for real-life application; I have not been indifferent to this fact.

For the past fifteen years I have worked in the optics industry and was never in agreement with noneffective management methods and socialist economic principles. A possibility to start my own business appeared in 1991, when the independence was declared in Ukraine and a Oprivate propertyO concept was fixed in the Constitution. However our society, our culture, our financial infrastructure haven?t yet changed sufficiently [to support small businesses].

As pioneers of private business in Ukraine, we have many difficulties. Our government and tax laws don?t encourage us to form new enterprises. We started the company with our own funds, and our life forces us to apply the low-risk model as a way to start a business. Milton Chang?s Business Engineering series has given us answers on many aspects of our business. But the main answer for us is real-life confirmation of this strategy and this approach to business. Thank you for your decision to bring this experience and knowledge to Laser Focus World readers.

Alexander F. Alexeichenko

Owner/Managing Director

Atlas Co., Adv. Technologies and Lasers

POB 368/6, Kiev 253222, Ukraine

CORRECTION

In the October Letters column, a key phrase was inadvertently left out of John Dimmock?s letter describing the requirements for the practice-oriented MS degree in optics offered at the Center for Applied Optics at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. In addition to optics fundamentals and optics engineering, design, and manufacturing, students are also required to fulfill requirements in engineering business management. The combination, Dimmock says, distinguishes the degree program at CAO from programs that focus exclusively on optics. For more information, contact Dimmock by e-mail at dimmockj@email.uah.gifdu.

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