During this centennial year, OSA members have been sharing stories about their work, sources of inspiration, the value of OSA membership and more. Here are some of those stories.
Aldo Di Costanzo
Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, Mexico
My current work is on functional near-infrared spectroscopy on infants ... You cannot put a baby on an MRI, so this technology of near-infrared light gives you ways to study newborn babies non-invasively. You can help them in lots of ways. While this is a developing technology, I’m sure that in the future we’ll be doing great stuff. It’s an excitement for me, actually.
CSIR National Laser Centre, South Africa
When I was a student in South Africa, I loved astronomy, but I thought, can a developing country really put funds into astronomy? So I looked around and I thought optics—it’s exciting; I can go into academics; I can go into industry. I could probably make a difference in a country that needs more technologies in its economy, and so I thought optics is where to go.
Stanford University, USA
I work with optics for medical applications. The types of technology that I work on are, hopefully, going to help people have diseases diagnosed earlier and help doctors figure out how to treat people better … Doing something that has an actual impact on people’s lives and making them better is something that really excites me.
IIT Madras, India
There’s a big disadvantage you face when you live in a place that’s far away. Membership bodies like OSA really help bridge that gap. You become known. That’s important, because then people start looking at your work ... OSA really makes that difference. You get noticed. It gives you the opportunity to get noticed, and that has made a big difference to me.
Inrad Optics Inc., N.J., USA
It’s really important for me to provide good jobs at every level, from production floor folks who have a trade that is hard to replace all the way to Ph.D.-level scientists. That’s what gets me up in the morning … taking this small group of people on a journey, and we’re all trying to get the same mission accomplished.
Imperial College London, United Kingdom
What excites me about my current research is the potential for real-life applications to improve the quality of life of people around the world. I’m trying to develop a technique of femtosecond laser mass spectrometry ... to try to find out more about the proteins of breast cancers ... to develop drugs to cure breast cancer.
University of Southern California, USA
The most exciting thing about my research right now is, we’re developing a new kind of polymeric material which can be triggered by light. We’re actually able to change a fundamental material property by exposing it to UV radiation. The ability to combine materials and optics is really a new enabling field.
Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Germany
What got me into science originally was my great interest in music as a teenager … I couldn’t afford a hi-fi [stereo] system, so I taught myself electronics and built a hi-fi system so I could listen to music. That got me into thinking in a scientific way, and then realizing you could do the most amazing things if you understood what science is about.
Chun-Hung (Frank) Kuo
Mettler Toledo Autochem Inc., Ohio, USA
What excites me about my current work is that I get to apply optical technology into real applications. For example, I use a lot of lasers and optics, and I integrate them together to provide all sorts of analytical instruments to be used in pharmaceutical and chemical industry.
Visit www.osa.org/100/osa_stories for more inspirational moments captured on video from close to 100 OSA members.