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ICO Newsletter

October 1999, No. 41

International Commission for Optics.

Bureau members : President : A.H. Guenther; Past-President : T. Asakura ; Treasurer : G.T. Sincerbox; Vice-Presidents (as of August 1999) : H.H. Arsenault, M.L. Calvo, R. Dandliker, A.A. Friesem, J. Ojeda-Castaneda, U. Kim, D.A.B. Miller, G.C. Righini, C. Sheppard, L. Wang; Secretary : P. Chavel; Associate Secretary, in charge of Meetings : A.T. Friberg.

International Commission for Optics
Secretariat: B.P. 147, 91403 Orsay cedex, France
Phone: (33)1 69 35 87 41
Fax: (33)1 69 35 87 00
Associate Secretary, in charge of meetings: A.T. Friberg, Royal Institute of Technology, Department of Physics - Optics, SE-100 44 Stockholm, Fax: +46 8 789 6672. E-mail:

ICTP/ICO/OSA Winter College on Optics and Photonics to be held in Trieste, February 2000

The International Center for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy, is a center established by UNESCO with the support of the Italian government to host selected physicists from developing countries ; during their stay, they can conduct research, have access to library and laboratory resources and attend meetings and schools. For several years, as part of its program for the support of optics in less favored regions of the world, ICO has been collaborating with ICTP on organizing Winter Colleges in Optics. A new College will be organized in 2000.

It will take place from February 7 through February 25, 2000 and will be directed by Prof. A.K. Ghatak (IIT New Delhi), Prof. A.T. Friberg (Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm), Prof. F. Gori (U. Roma) and Prof. G.T. Sincerbox (U. of Arizona, Tucson). Prof. G. Denardo (ICTP and University of Trieste) will be the Local Organizer. It is planned that, for the first time, the Optical Society of America will also collaborate in the organization. Following the College there will be a one-week (February 28 - March 4) Training Course on the use of software for optical design and optimization, organized by the International Center for Science and High Technology (ICS) in Trieste. ICS is a new Center, part of UNIDO, that carries out projects in applied sciences for the benefit of developing countries.

The College aims at exposing the participants to the rapidly growing fields of modern optics, photonics, and optoelectronics. The lectures will cover the basic principles and theoretical aspects of modern optics, as well as deal with contemporary applications. The main topics of the College include : fiber optics ; micro- and nano-optics ; new lasers ; optical and quantum physics ; optical storage and display technologies ; geometrical optics and optical design. Demonstrations and/or "hands-on" laboratory and internet activities will be organized. Participants will have the opportunity to present a 20 minute seminar. The College is open to scientists from all countries of the world that are members of the UN, UNESCO, IAEA or UNIDO. The main purpose of the Centre is to help research workers from developing countries, but graduate students and post-doctoral scientists from developed countries will also be welcome to attend. As the College will be conducted in English, participants should have an adequate working knowledge of that language.

As a rule, travel and subsistence expenses of the participants should be covered by the home institutions. However, limited funds are available for some participants from developing countries who will be selected by the organizers. Such financial support is available only to those who attend the entire activity. As scarcity of funds allows travel to be granted only in a few exceptional cases, every effort should be made by candidates to secure support for their fares (or at least half-fare) from their home country. There is no registration fee for attending the College.

Applications for participation should be received before October 31, 1999. A full announcement including registration information is available from ICTP under


Dakar Meeting, April 2000, to be first ICO Major Event in Africa

While it is difficult for scientists in developing countries to attend scientific meetings and thereby fully participate in the scientific life, there exists a community of optical scientists in Africa indeed and the region has special needs for scientific and technical development using optics. In line with its policy to support regional development in its field, the ICO, in conjunction with the ICTP and in cooperation with the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, has decided to held its Topical Meeting of the year 2000 in Dakar, the capital of Sénégal. Université Cheik Anta Diop of Dakar will be the host organization. The conference chairs will be ICO Past President Prof. T. Asakura of Japan and Prof. S. Adjepong of Ghana, while Prof. A. Wagué of Université Cheik Anta Diop will chair the Program and the Local Organizing Committees.

The topic will be "Optical Sciences and Application for Sustainable Development". The purpose of the Conference is to highlight recent advances in Optical Sciences and its applications. It will include lectures and topical seminars on the following subjects:

  • Contemporary advances in Optical Sciences
  • Optical Fiber sensors
  • Telecommunication devices
  • Telecommunication integration
  • Spectroscopy of Atmospheric pollutants
  • Optics for Environmental monitoring
  • Applications of Optics in Agriculture and Medicine

The ICO invites you to participate in this exceptional event and submit a manuscript.

For paper submissions from outside Africa, send a 4 pages camera-ready manuscript to the ICO Secretariat (see coordinates at the end of this Newsletter). Submissions in the form of MSWord attached files are welcome. The submissions shall be reviewed by the International Program Committee. For a more complete announcement, including the procedure for submissions from Africa, see Dakar 2000 Announcement or information can be obtained from the ICO Secretariat.


EOS, IEEE/LEOS, OSA and SPIE join ICO as Members

With its new statutes (see column in this newsletter), ICO is improving its capacity to serve as a recognized umbrella organization for all of Optics. With the new membership category introduced last August for membership societies active in optics at an international level, the European Optical Society, the IEEE Laser and Electro-Optics Society, the Optical Society of America and SPIE - the International Society for Optical Engineering have now joined ICO as members.


ICO Congress meets in San Francisco, adopts new Statutes, moves to join ICSU

The San Francisco meeting

ICO holds its "Congress" every three years. The ICO Congress consists of a scientific meeting and the triennial business meeting of the Commission. The 1999 congress, that met at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco August 2-6, was the eighteenth since ICO was founded shortly after world war II and the first in the United States since 1972. Over 400 delegates met for the scientific part of the event, which consisted in three parallel scientific sessions and poster sessions throughout the week covering all of optics. Distinctive features of this event are its ability to provide a broad state of the art view of the whole field. Highlights included plenary talks on biophotonics by Nobel Laureate Steve Chu of Stanford University and on blue laser diodes by Shuji Nakamura from Nichia Chemical Industries as well as some 40 invited review papers that were scheduled for minimal overlap. Keynote speaker at the traditional banquet and ICO award ceremony was astronaut Helen Ochoa of NASA, who described her last mission to the Space Station. ICO gratefully acknowledges the successful work of Alexander J. Glass, General Chair, Joseph W. Goodman, Program Chair, Milton Chang, Conference Development chair, William F. Krupke, Arrangements Committee Chair and their colleagues on the meeting committees who organized the event on behalf of the United States National Committee for ICO. Full logistic support was provided by SPIE in their acknowledged professional manner. The ICO XVIII proceedings are available from SPIE as their Proceedings volume number 3749.

New Statutes

When ICO was started more than fifty years ago, it was the only organization regularly active in Optics meetings and schools at an international level. Clearly, this is nowadays no more the case. The strength of ICO, yet, is its very good representation of Optics internationally through its Territorial Committee members, which are 45 geographical Territories covering by far the majority of the Optics activity in the world, and its participation, as an Affiliated Commission of IUPAP, the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, in ICSU, the International Council of Science. For a perfect representativity of its field, it was felt appropriate to add a new category of members for Membership Societies active in Optics at an international level. The 1999 ICO General Meeting met in San Francisco last August and adopted new statutes introducing this new category and four societies have been accepted as members under the new category. Other societies are considering the issue. ICO can now be one recognized voice for essentially all of Optics and work promoting Optics as an emerging discipline.

Direct participation in ICSU

Along the same policy line, the General Meeting has decided that ICO, while remaining an IUPAP Affiliated Commission, will apply for direct participation in ICSU as a "Scientific Associate". ICO will also be in a better position to undertake actions of common interest in such fields as actions for the regional development of optics, standards and education. The new statutes have been posted on the ICO web page.


ICO Award Winners 1999 : Hugo Thienpont and Mario Garavaglia

The ICO Bureau has approved the proposition by the ICO Prize Committee and the ICO Galileo Galilei Award Committee to grant the 1999 ICO Prize to Professor Hugo Thienpont of the Vrije Universiteit Brussels and to Professor Mario Garavaglia of Centro de Investigaciones en Optica, la Plata, Argentina, respectively. The decision was announced at the ICO XVIII General Meeting in San Francisco.

The January 2000 issue of this Newsletter will have more about the 1999 award winners.


ICO awards : new ICO/ICTP Award established, nomination deadline is December 15

This issue of the ICO Newsletter therefore combines the three calls for applications for the "ICO Prize", for the "CIO Galileo Galilei Award" and for the "ICO/ICTP Award" for 2000.

The ICO Prize, established in 1982, is awarded to an individual who has made a noteworthy contribution to optics before reaching the age of 40.

The Galileo Galilei medal of the ICO, established in 1994, is awarded for outstanding contributions to the field of optics which are achieved under comparatively unfavorable circumstances.

The ICO/ICTP Award was established in August 1999 and will start in 2000. It is awarded to a young researcher from a developing country conducting research in a developing country and less than 40 years old. It consists in a cash amount given by ICO and the invitation by ICTP to attend the next ICTP event appropriate for the recipient.

Detailed rules and explanations are to be found in the ICO Awards web page. To those who have difficulty accessing the web, they are also available upon request from the ICO Secretary.

The ICO International Prize in Optics 2000

The ICO Galileo Galilei Award 2000

The ICO/ICTP Award 2000 (Deadline : December 15, 1999)

Joint Nomination Form

Nominations should include the following :

  • Full name of nominee :
  • Nominator's name and address :
  • Nominator's signature, date
  • Date of birth of nominee :
  • Business address
  • Academic background
  • Education : College or University, Location, Major field, Degree, Year awarded
  • Academic honors
  • Employed history (position, organization, duties, dates)
  • Publications, patents, unpublished reports, papers presented at meetings, etc.
  • Honors and awards :
  • Scientific achievements for which the candidate is nominated for this award.

Return this nomination form, together with supporting information :

  • for the ICO Prize, no later than March 15, 2000, to Prof. René Dändliker, Université de Neuchâtel, rue A.L. Bréguet 2, CH 2000 Neuchâtel,
  • for the ICO Galileo Galilei Award, no later than March 15, 2000, to the ICO Secretariat
  • for the ICO/ICTP Award, no later than December 15, 1999, to Prof. Gallieno Denardo, Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics, PO Box 586, I 34100 Trieste, Italie,

Notes :

  • for complete rules of the three prizes, see the ICO web page The nominee's contributions should be documented according with these Rules.
  • Nominators are encouraged to generate supporting letters ; each supporting letter must come from a different country or ICO Territory and bring an additional information on the case. The number of supporting letters will not be a selection criterion.
  • For the ICO Prize and ICO Galileo Galilei Award, the recipient will be expected to give a presentation based upon his/her achievements at the next appropriate ICO Meeting. For the ICO/ICTP Award, the recipient will be expected to give a presentation based upon his/her acheivements at the next appropriate ICTP event.
  • For the ICO Galileo Galilei Award, the Committee has requested a particular attention to the following in addition to the scientific work of the nominee : management and organisation activities by the nominee in his/her homeland, cooperation outside the homeland, indication of the "unfavourable conditions" that justify the award.