Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Harnessing Light 2

The US National Academy of Sciences has released the second iteration of Harnessing Light, which analyzes and recommends action for maintaining or increasing US competitiveness in global photonics markets.

I just watched the OSA webinar of the roundtable discussion on this document that occurred today at Stanford. Of interest was the committee's strong recommendation to increase US manufacturing capabilities in both optics and other areas that utilize optics for their manufacturing processes. They also addressed the stigma of manufacturing being a blue-collar field and made note that manufacturing engineers address very challenging and technical problems. One member also mentioned that the personal satisfaction from manufacturing jobs is often very great because of the tangible reward of seeing a product that one has designed come to market.

Tom Baer said that industry is better-suited for multidisciplinary research because the historical barriers across fields do not exist there.

Also of interest was the notion that the US has been a good innovator for ideas and technologies but has increasingly lost its ability to capitalize on these ideas to other countries.