Over 300 attendees are here in St. Louis to attend the Glass and Optical Materials Division Annual Meeting. The meeting is organized into four symposia: Glass Science, Optical Materials & Devices, Crosscutting Topics and Festschrift to the Glass Research Career of Professor Delbert E. Day.
The day opened with the GOMD’s Stookey Award and lecture, which was delivered by John MacChesney, who was central to the development of the modified chemical vapor deposition process, which was the production breakthrough for fabricating high purity optical fiber preforms large enough to yield commercially viable lengths of optical fiber. In his talk he reviewed that work and also some of his other important work done during his career at Bell Labs. The talk was titled, “Innovation Requires More than a Bright Idea.”
I had the chance to chat with MacChesney about his long and productive career (which I’ll share in more detail later), and I was surprised to learn that besides having a guiding hand in inventing modern telecommunications, he and his wife are also Christmas tree farmers!
Over the lunch hour a panel discussion was held for students on careers, career development, how to enter the job market, industry vs. academia vs. national labs, how to find a post doc position, the wisdom of changing research directions, etc. The panelists were established professionals from industry, academia and national labs, and they shared their advice and experience in a question-and-answer format session.
There were plenty of networking opportunities during coffee breaks and during a vibrant poster session, which was sponsored by Elsevier. Overall, the mood feels energetic and optimistic. I’m not sensing much economy angst this year, nor am I picking up any vibes (pro or con) for things that show up often in the tech press these days, like the Materials Genome Initiative.
So, friends, it’s been a long, stimulating day; I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking. Enjoy!