On 16 May 2018 the first International Day of Light (IDL) celebrated the vital role of light and related technologies in science, culture and art, education and sustainable development. More than 600 events were held in 87 countries reaching hundreds of thousands of people, and a spectacular afternoon and evening celebration was also held at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France. Several colleges used this event to create interest for students to enroll in photonics technology. The IDL article by LASER-TEC and the WE STEM Day at Indian Hills Community College are good examples. Your students may want to look into the IDL photo contest SPIE is holding through September 16.
Gordon Snyder’s article describes a very unusual application of photonics emerging in Montana where researchers have developed a special LIDAR to identify and track invasive fish (Lakers) in Yellowstone Lake. There is also an article about the new photonics program emerging at Spokane Community College in Washington State. The final article of this issue describes two OP-TEC guides to help high schools organize, develop and teach the Fundamentals of Light and Lasers course for dual credit. This summer, please consider planning/assisting one or more of your local high schools to add a photonics course in their STEM academies. Have you registered and made your travel plans to attend the July HI-TEC Conference in Miami?