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Running Our Own Conference

University of Aveiro OSA Student Chapter

In July, the University of Aveiro OSA Student Chapter fully organized, for the first time, a two days’ conference. In fact, it is not the first time our Student Chapter participates in the organization of an event, but always in collaboration with other Chapters or other persons. This time, the organization was entirely our responsibility. The conference, which was called ‘OptoFusion – Conference on Optics in Industry’, took place at Instituto de Telecomunicações, in Aveiro, and was a celebration in Portugal of the 100 years of The Optical Society (OSA) and, at the same time, joined academy and industry in turn of a single objective.

The first day of the conference was mostly devoted to optics in industry, where a panel of invited speakers presented national companies that they founded or where they work, some of them born at the Instituto de Telecomunicações, in Aveiro. The day ended with a round table where the status of optics and of the research in optics were discussed, highlighting the main differences between Portugal and the United States. The second day was devoted to academy, were several technical talks took place. The first one highlighted nonlinear spectroscopy, another one presented green photonics-enabled devices for lighting, energy and optical communications and the last one focused on new challenges in Fabry-Perot cavities for biomedical applications. After the technical talks, all the participants had the opportunity to visit the labs of the Instituto de Telecomunicações and at the Department of Physics in the University of Aveiro.

The main guest speaker was Professor Eric Van Stryland, from the University of Central Florida, which gave two talks, the first one called “A Century of the OSA” and the second one, more technical, called “Nonlinear spectroscopy: absorption and refraction”. In the first talk, he made a journey through the 100 years of the OSA, highlighting key events that paved the way to the present of the society. In the second talk, he gave also a general view of the topic, but became very specific in many things, since this was the work of a life time for him. Without any doubt, both talks were very interesting and all the participants liked very much talking to him.

After all, we can say that the conference was a great success, even if the number of participants reached only about 30 persons. Also, the conference was great for networking and exchange of ideas and students could talk with companies and have a much better idea about the work that they do, here in Portugal. We acknowledge all the participants and speakers that attended the conference and we are sure that it was very productive for everyone. We want to acknowledge also The Optical Society for the major support to the conference, both with a Centennial Special Events Grant and a Traveling Lecturer. Without this support it was not possible to organize such an interesting conference. Last, but not least, we want to acknowledge the Instituto de Telecomunicações – Aveiro, for the logistics and materials for the participants and project FutPON, which supported some of the organizers.
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