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European Members Weigh in on Optica

Samantha Hornback, Research & Program Development Coordinator, Optica

On 20 September, the organization previously known as The Optical Society transitioned to a new name—Optica—and a new visual identity. We sat down with two active members of the European optics and photonics community, Gabrielle Thomas and Jens Biegert to get their reaction to the news.

Why do you feel this change is important, and what impact do you think the new brand will have?

Gabrielle Thomas: It goes back to this word “inclusivity.” I think that changing the name embodies the inclusivity in our Community, but it also reflects the international nature of the society and, of course, its members. Importantly, more than half of the society's membership is outside of the USA.

Optica is also reflective of the high quality of research and scientific knowledge that is coming from the society. I expect that it's the name that we can continue to grow with. I am a really big believer that we need diversity of ideas and perspectives to impact and to drive scientific knowledge, so I think that by having this greater reach via the rebranding, we will see greater scientific progress by giving more emphasis to people's voices all over the world.

Jens Biegert: Science is global in any case. I think it's necessary to reflect this global involvement of the society itself. Wherever you are from, I think it's good that you can identify yourself as strongly as possible with a brand and a society that should represent you, I believe that a name that is not attached to a location or a certain group accomplishes that.

Also, I think the association between a very strong and very well-recognized international journal publication and the society can only work to the advantage of the society in that sense. It's very difficult to find the right name, and I think Optica takes into account a huge amount of the of the history that optics stands for, and I think the name Optica has a deeper meaning than just an acronym or something else.

Why now?

GT: The last 18 months have been extraordinarily challenging, but I do think that some good has come out of this, in particular, thinking more deeply about we communicate within our Community. The name Optica embodies the increasing internationalization of our communication, the exchange of scientific knowledge, and the focus towards diversity and inclusion.

JB: I think it should have been changed earlier! This pandemic brought many things to a grinding halt, and I think it's an opportune time. There is clearly a change globally, and why not use that opportunity to reflect on these changes?

As an OSA member and volunteer, what resonates and excites you about Optica?

GT: I'm a very visual person, and I like bright colors. I like strong imagery and, for me, I thought the color was awesome. I also really like how the name is not only reflective of the history of optics, but it's also you know, we have the Optica journal, which is an enormously successful journal. So I think, for me, what excites me about this is that we're having a name that is all-encompassing and has significant reach, and yeah hopefully we can see increased participation in our society.

JB: In terms of logo and name, I think it modernizers a lot of things. And it keeps us on top, and I think that's nice to see: you want to be volunteering or involved in something that is progressive and that reflects also your own thoughts. Also, research is deeply international, and we have to take this into account. I think the whole makeover on all the materials reflects something fresh, something new. It gives some fresh impetus, some new energy.

Image for keeping the session alive