How spectroscopists can help spectroscopists recover in Puerto Rico

Jan. 11, 2018
The spectroscopy community is rallying an effort to support its colleagues in Puerto Rico devastated by Hurricane Maria.

Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico and the subsequent infrastructure failure destroyed instrumentation and resulted in condemned laboratories. For example, professor Sam Hernandez-Rivera describes what happened to his laboratory.

Because they say that science is a community effort, the spectroscopy community, led by the Coblentz Society ( and the Society for Applied Spectroscopy (SAS;, is rallying a volunteer effort to support its colleagues. This support can be provided in various forms:

(1) Through monetary donations to fund students from Puerto Rico to travel to functioning labs, where access to equipment will help keep those research projects on track.

(2) Through financial support donated to the Society for Applied Spectroscopy Measure Venture sites (see below).

(3) Volunteers can offer their facilities, time, and expertiseincluding opportunities for Puerto Rican students to come to your lab.

The societies are also seeking support from spectroscopy and other photonic instrument vendors who can donate replacement equipment or donate the time and expertise of staff who can repair or service damaged equipment. Already two companies have donated services to help get this program off the ground. More such donations can be made by using the donation forms below.

Without this support, the organizations feel that students will return to their communities with unfinished educations and their future prospects will be stunted. They say they are not seeking to provide disaster relief, but are enabling self-help.

How can you help?

The simplest way to contribute is to make a financial donation through the Coblentz Society financial donation form and the Society for Applied Spectroscopy crowdfunding portal Measure Venture. Both methods for contributing go to non-profit 501(c)(3) accounts and 501(c)(3) certification is available on request.

Contributing expertise, time, equipment, laboratory space, housing, and even ideas are all helpful. Please fill in the donor form with your contact information and indicate your ability to contribute. One of the volunteer team will contact you soon.

If you are a researcher in Puerto Rico needing help, please fill in the grant application form and a volunteer team member will reach out to you to start the process.

SOURCE: Coblentz Society;

About the Author

Gail Overton | Senior Editor (2004-2020)

Gail has more than 30 years of engineering, marketing, product management, and editorial experience in the photonics and optical communications industry. Before joining the staff at Laser Focus World in 2004, she held many product management and product marketing roles in the fiber-optics industry, most notably at Hughes (El Segundo, CA), GTE Labs (Waltham, MA), Corning (Corning, NY), Photon Kinetics (Beaverton, OR), and Newport Corporation (Irvine, CA). During her marketing career, Gail published articles in WDM Solutions and Sensors magazine and traveled internationally to conduct product and sales training. Gail received her BS degree in physics, with an emphasis in optics, from San Diego State University in San Diego, CA in May 1986.

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