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Moving Forward in 2023

I hope to focus on three areas this year that I view as particularly important.

Michal Lipson

It is a pleasure to greet all of you members, with my first message as President of Optica. I’d like to thank and congratulate the society’s 2022 President, Satoshi Kawata, on a successful year of growth and evolution.

In looking at the coming year, I am struck by the substantial opportunities for moving optics and photonics forward, both in basic science and in bold new applications. How can Optica best support its members in advancing those opportunities, while maintaining the society’s health and sustainability? While the agenda is quite full, I hope to focus on three areas in the coming year that I view as particularly important.

The first area involves one of Optica’s key channels for fostering scientific communication: its meetings and conferences. Since the onset of the pandemic, our community’s expectations on meetings have evolved in striking ways. When I review my notes from early 2020—with their comments about “going online” with meetings—they now strike me as almost naïve. Today, we have a far richer fund of experience of how so-called hybrid meetings work, and their advantages and disadvantages in the exchange of scientific ideas and for professional networking.

Even so, there is much we still need to understand in selecting among different live, hybrid and online-only formats for different meetings, in the needs and experience of speakers in such formats, and in other aspects of this evolving picture. This is an area in which I believe we must set an example, and I look forward to leading that effort.

A second, related priority touches on our ongoing efforts as an international, inclusive society. To me, internationalization strikes two simultaneous chords. One is Optica’s effort to address the needs of international audiences in its journals, conferences and other activities. (Along those lines, I’m happy to note that starting with this installment, these monthly messages in OPN will be available in five languages in addition to English.) But internationalization also offers an incredible push for science and development, by enabling everyone to benefit from internationally diverse perspectives.

The third and perhaps most difficult priority I hope to focus on in 2023 involves building and expanding trust in science and scientific evidence, at a time when such trust is increasingly under threat. We see this even within the scientific community, where evidence lodged in citation metrics can make or break careers—and yet can sometimes itself be “gamed.” Defining and enhancing trust in science, its methods and its metrics, through new platforms and mechanisms that foster communication and collaboration, seems to me a challenge that we must meet.

I look forward to using this space in the coming year to communicate ideas and progress on these and other priorities, and how Optica can act as a positive force for change.

Michal Lipson,
Optica President

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Publish Date: 01 January 2023

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