Lab Visits - An Investment That Is Worth It

By Chad Husko, Argonne National Laboratory

Dear OSA members,
This is the fourth in a series of blog posts I’m writing throughout 2016 in my role as OSA Ambassador. You can find earlier posts on visits to Barcelona and Quebec, and OSA FiberTech in Sydney.

In this post I will discuss a recent trip Down Under to visit our colleagues at the University of Queensland and Griffith University in Brisbane. This follows on from attending the OSA conference in Sydney.
Visit to Brisbane - University of Queensland and Griffith University
Dr. Martin Ringbauer was a consummate host at UQ. Importantly, he ensured that the OSA student chapter of nearby Griffith University joined the day’s events. Martin and the team gave excellent, very detailed, tours of the quantum optics and opto-mechanics labs led by Professors Andrew White and Warwick Bowen.
This is one of the key take home messages from today’s post. Take the opportunity to visit as many labs as you can. People invest a lot of time learning their subject, distilling the findings, and sharing it with you. In just a few hours you can learn several years worth of insights. You will not regret it!
Giving a talk to a slightly different research community
I gave a technical seminar, which was a bit of a challenge, as the community here is focused on quantum optics whereas my talk on this occasion focused on nonlinear optics in waveguides. This is what we are taught, however, ‘know your audience!’
Since I anticipated this difference, I adopted my talk and focused on core concepts that have a relationship to this community. I’d say it worked as I had quite a few questions afterwards, which is always a good sign.
We followed up the technical talk with the professional development session I’ve been working on throughout the year: Light beyond the lab: putting your research skills to work
As often happens when we travel, we meet and re-encounter colleagues in unexpected places. In this case it was a colleague from Imperial College who I had just met in April and also happened to be visiting UQ that day. To make it a more complete story, he works with a former co-author of mine from the University of Sydney. It’s a small world indeed.
My challenge to you: Plan a visit to a colleague’s lab in the next 6 - 12 months
No matter what stage we are in our careers, this is an absolutely wonderful investment of our time.
We all know a friend or a colleague at another institute we have not yet visited. Tack it onto a conference in the region, or catch with the person you worked with at your prior lab.
I’m looking forward to the OSA Frontiers in Optics (FiO) in Rochester, New York (October 17-21). This year will be especially exciting with the OSA Centennial celebration in the very place where the society started.
The OSA Ambassador team will discuss our experiences working with the OSA community, student chapters, and Young Professionals this year.


Posted: 2 November 2016 by Chad Husko, Argonne National Laboratory | with 0 comments

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