News from the Society

OPN Staff

Oximeters for COVID / Siegman School / GEMM summit / Optica Fellow stories / Meeting roundup / Virtual FiO+LS / DEI developments / Creative Zoom / Remembering Jane Simmons / Thanks, editors and volunteers

Plenary speakers[IndiaPix/Getty Images]

Optica Ships Oximeters to Communities in Need

One out of ten people diagnosed with COVID-19 requires supplemental oxygen to survive. In response, Optica’s Global Health Initiative (GHI) and the Optica Foundation are collaborating with IndiaCovidSOS to ship optics-driven oxygen
saturation meters—pulse oximeters—to communities in limited-resource settings in India, Nepal and Bangladesh.

To date, 14,000 oximeters have been distributed via local community sharing programs. GHI members Thomas Baer, Stanford University (2009 OSA President), Arnab Bhattacharya, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Manu Prakash, Stanford University, Nichole Starr, UCSF and LifeBox, and Ashley Rene Styczynski, Stanford University, oversaw oximeter testing and calibration before shipment. They also created an infographic to guide non-medical caregivers on use.

Foundation prize winners

All-Stars Virtual Siegman School

The 2021 All-Stars Siegman School took place virtually from 19 to 23 July. Eric Rosas, Clúster Mexicano de Fotónica, Mexico, and Optica Fellow Jens Biegert, ICFO–Institut de Ciències Fotòniques, Spain, hosted and facilitated the program. The event featured top-rated presenters from the past six schools giving online presentations and hosting Q&A sessions with questions ranging from technical to professional development. The school culminated in a final plenary talk from Nobel Laureate and 2013 OSA President Donna Strickland. In total, 227 people participated from 47 countries. The talks can be viewed at

Global carbon emissionsGlobal carbon emissions, as depicted in a NASA simulation. [NASA]

GEMM Summit

The joint Global Environmental Measurement and Monitoring (GEMM) Initiative of Optica and the American Geophysical Union (AGU) will convene an online/in-person summit, “Cities Are the Key to the Climate Solution: Meeting Global Greenhouse Gases and Air Quality Targets Through Real-Time Measurement” on 3 November 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. It takes place alongside the UN 26th Climate Change Conference.

Cities account for 70% of all greenhouse-gas emissions. The summit will highlight the GEMM Urban Air Pilot Project’s low-cost sensors and networks for real-time CO2 and air pollutant monitoring at the neighborhood scale, and information on climate change and air quality actions for policymakers and other stakeholders. Speakers will include Nobel Laureate and 2013 OSA President Donna Strickland, GEMM Initiative Chair and 2009 OSA President Thomas Baer, Optica Fellow Allister Ferguson, University of Strathclyde, UK, and many others. For more information and to register, visit

Headshots of speakers

Meeting Roundup: July–August 2021

The months of July and August featured four Optica conferences that surveyed innovative research across the optics and photonics scene.

The co-located 2021 Imaging and Applied Optics Congress and Optical Sensors and Sensing Congress, held 19 to 23 July, engaged 1,300 registrants from 59 countries. Visionaries in quantum photonics, advanced hyperspectral-image processing and environmental and remote sensing were featured plenary speakers and presenters.

The Advanced Photonics Congress was held from 26 to 30 July. Distinguished speakers included Optica Fellow Eli Yablonovitch, University of California, Berkeley, USA; Optica Fellow Shanhui Fan, Stanford University, USA; Anna Fontcuberta i Morral, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne; and Son Thai Le, Nokia Bell Labs. Their presentations covered optical communications, photodetection and light trapping.

Finally, Optica’s Nonlinear Optics Topical Meeting took place from 09 to 13 August 2021. More than 200 people attended sessions, including the plenary talks given by Nobel Laureate and Optica Fellow Gérard Mourou and 2015 OSA President Philip Russell.

Headshots of speakersCourtesy of C. Mazzali

Optica Fellows Stories

Optica Fellow Claudio Mazzali, Corning Optical Communications, USA, always knew he wanted to pursue science but was surprised to find his true passion in industry. “After joining Corning, I learned about industrial R&D, and I was very lucky to have my first job in a company that looks at R&D as a fundamental investment for growth.” Today, he encourages others to follow their passions and to “learn as much as you can and have fun using it to create things for others to build upon.” Read more about Claudio and other Optica Fellows at

Headshots of speakers

FiO+LS Status Update

The 2021 Frontiers in Optics + Laser Science (FiO+LS) conference, presented by Optica and the American Physical Society’s Division of Laser Science (DLS), has transitioned to an online, web-conference format. The conference will take place from 31 October to 04 November. The virtual format will allow for a more inclusive and safe experience for all attendees. This year’s technical program and exhibition leverages the intersection between science and applications within three conference themes: Autonomous Systems, Machine Learning, and Virtual Reality and Augmented Vision.

Among the invited speakers are Paul Debevec, Netflix, USA; Optica Fellow Keith Nelson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA; Ana Maria Rey, University of Colorado at Boulder, USA; and Jiangying Zhou, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, USA.

People in the lab

DEI: Developments to Watch for in 2022

Creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive optics community is an ongoing commitment for Optica. Over the past year, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Rapid Action Committee has developed programs, policies and measures to support and increase the presence of Black scientists and engineers within optics and photonics.

Based on the committee’s recommendations, the Optica Board has approved substantial efforts designed to achieve tangible and long-lasting results. Watch for additional information on these activities and opportunities as they are launched in 2022.

Man on zoom

Getting Creative on Zoom

As conference presentations have gone virtual during the pandemic, presenters are getting creative in their approach, leveraging the capabilities of online platforms. Nicolas Englebert from the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium, for example, used a feature of Zoom to appear to walk and gesture in front of his presentation at the Nonlinear Optics meeting, much as a professor might do in a classroom.


Remembering Jane Simmons

Optica and the scientific community mourn the loss of Jane M. Simmons, who passed away in early August. Simmons was the editor-in-chief for Journal of Optical Communications and Networking and a dedicated member of the OFC Steering Committee. Her research centered around the development of optical networks, and she founded Monarch Network Architects, which provides optical network architectural services and tools. Optica is grateful to Simmons for her contributions.

Thank You, Editors

We are happy to announce the following individuals were recently appointed as new editors: Biomedical Optics ExpressSantosh Kumar, Liaocheng University, China; Igor Meglinski, Aston University, UK. JOSA A—Minchen Wei, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong. OpticaSharon Weiss, Vanderbilt University, USA. Optics ExpressSang-Hyun Oh, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, USA; Qican Zhang, Sichuan University, China.

We would like to thank the following editors for agreeing to serve a second term: JOSA B—Ramy El-Ganainy, Michigan Technological University, USA. Optics ExpressGuoqing (Noah) Chang, Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China; Jose Sanchez-Gil, Instituto de Estructura de la Materia, Spain. Optics LettersJavier A. Jo, University of Oklahoma, USA; Xun Li, McMaster University, Canada. OSA ContinuumGhanshyam Singh, Malaviya National Institute of Technology Jaipur, India.

We would like to thank the following editors, who have recently finished their terms, for their years of service: Optics ExpressJonathan Ellis, Clerio Vision, Inc, USA; Andrew Forbes, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. Optics LettersYaroslav Kartashov, Institute of Spectroscopy, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia; Brian Vohnsen, University College Dublin, Ireland.

Thank You, Volunteers

Thank you to the chairs of the Laser Congress and Exhibition:

Advanced Solid State Lasers Conference: Johan Nilsson, University of Southampton, UK; Sergey Mirov, University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA; Peter Schunemann, BAE Systems Inc., USA; Carlota Canalias, Kungliga Tekniska Hogskolan, Sweden; Clara Saraceno, Ruhr Universität Bochum, Germany; Mark Bowers, Lockheed Martin Aculight Corp., USA.

Laser Applications Conference: Johannes Trbola, TRBOLA Engineering, Germany; Dave Mordaunt,
Ball Aerospace & Technologies, USA; Yuji Sano, Institute for Molecular Science, Japan.

Laser Congress Strategy Committee: Daniel Brida, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg; Benoit Boulanger, Neel Institute, Switzerland; James Kafka, Spectra-Physics/MKS, USA; Dave Mordaunt, Ball Aerospace & Technologies, USA; Alphan Sennaroglu, Koç Üniversitesi, Turkey; Irina Sorokina, Norges Teknisk Naturvitenskapelige Universitet, Norway; Johannes Trbola, TRBOLA Engineering, Germany.

Publish Date: 01 October 2021

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