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ICO Newsletter

January 2018 Number 114


Roberta Ramponi, ICO President (2017-2020)

From the President.


It is a great honour and pleasure for me to serve as ICO President in the term 2017-2020. We are facing a very exciting and challenging period. Following the great success of 2015 International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies, proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly to recognise “the importance of light and light-based technologies in the lives of the citizens of the world and for the future of development of the global society on many levels”, consciousness on the huge potential of optics and photonics for a healthier and wealthier world has grown and we have now more and more opportunities to make it happen. Optics and photonics are indeed key technologies to foster sustainable development and to meet the societal challenges that the world is dealing with. Starting from 2018, on May 16th, each year we will celebrate the International Day of Light, again proclaimed by UNESCO. It will be a great opportunity to keep the attention focused on the pervasiveness and benefits of light and lightbased technologies.

The ICO, as our motto says, is “the place where the world of optics meets”, but it needs more and more to be also the place where optics meets the world, overcoming social, economic, religious and political barriers in the name of science. In order to achieve this aim, we need to share our strategy and act in full synergy and close collaboration with all our members, the Territorial Committees and the International Societies, so as to reciprocally leverage the impact that we can have locally and worldwide.

During the past term, we applied to become a Union of ICSU. The final decision will most likely be taken in the next few months. It is a crucial step for ICO to gain more freedom and independence, and to be able to interact directly with other Unions so as to promote the use of optics and photonics in wider areas than the traditional ones. If we succeed, new important challenges will deploy in front of us. Of course we will not forget our previous “home”, IUPAP, which will remain an important counterpart and with which we will continue to interact and cooperate in the areas of common interest.

In the years to come, ICO should help the optics and photonics community all over the world to be a key policy-making player in the present knowledge-based society, it should foster the use of scientific and technological capacity to reduce the gap between developing and developed countries, favouring an open science approach, fruitful interactions and people mobility. We need to promote instruments to support gender balance and to inspire and support young minds. We need to foster knowledge and technology transfer for the sake of innovation and human well-being.

To achieve this, we need to work hard. We have an excellent team of Bureau members that will guide all actions. Indeed, through our Committees, chaired by Bureau members, but which may also include other stakeholders, we will interface with the industrial community and the regional policy makers for strategic planning and we will support coordination and actions in education and training. We will keep investing in our Traveling Lecturer Program, aimed at promoting optics and photonics in regions where particular support is needed, we will award prizes to different categories of scientists for outstanding achievements in the field of optics and photonics. Last but not least, besides the Triennial Congresses, we will keep organising annually Regional and Topical Meetings, and, through our participation to TSOSA (Trieste System of Optical Sciences and Applications), we will maintain a close collaboration with the ICTP in Trieste for its programs in optics, mainly directed towards developing countries, including the annual Winter College on Optics. A comprehensive summary of the ICO’s activities is published in the triennial Green Book that is available for download on the ICO website.

ICO should become more and more the place where everybody in the optics and photonics community feels at home, it must be the flower garden of optics, full of colours, where everybody wants to be and to meet. With the help and support of all our members, we can make ICO not only “the place where the world of optics meets”, but also the place where optics and photonics help us to shape a better world for future generations.

R. Ramponi, ICO President, 2017–2020


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International Commission for Optics

Bureau members (2017-2020):

President:  R. Ramponi;

Past-President:  Y. ArakawaTreasurer:  J. Niemela;

Secretary:  H. Michinel e-mail:,

Associate Secretary:  F. Höller

Vice-Presidents, elected:  Q. Gong, J. Harvey, N. Kundikova, S. Otero, S.-H. Park, A. Podoleanu, L. Sirko, M. Zghal

Vice-Presidents, appointed:  K. D. Choquette, J. C. Howell, C. Londoño, E. Rosas, P. Urbach, G. von Bally, A. Wagué

IUPAP Council Representative: C. Cisneros

Editor in chief: H. Michinel

Editorial committee:
William T. Rhodes, Florida Atlantic University, USA;
K. Baldwin, Australian National University, Australia;
J. Dudley, Université de Franche-Comté, France.