Connecting Minds. Advancing Light.

I enjoyed the opportunity to attend the Photonics West 2010 exhibit in San Francisco last week. This year was quite successful for the event. After being held in San Jose for many years, the show moved to San Francisco’s Moscone Center. This relocation made it possible for more companies to comfortably exhibit. It was also a pleasant experience spending time in a more modern facility and the great city of San Francisco with its wealth of hotels, shops and restaurants. There were 1,147 exhibitors at the main show and 178 at the BiOS pre-meeting. Attendance for the event was also up with 18,327 people attending. Also impressive was the fact that over 200 products were launched at the show.

After a successful BiOS meeting over the weekend, the Cirque du Lasaire opening reception kicked off the main event on Monday night. It was an unexpected mashup of cirque meets laser light show meets clips of the laser scene from Goldfinger. I especially enjoyed the guy on stilts dressed like a tree. He reminded me of an Ent from Lord of the Rings.

A nice exhibit “Advancing the Laser: 50 Years and Into the Future” was on display throughout the event. It was educational and amusing with a collection of larger-than-life (well at least larger-than-me) historic lasers.

A nice side show took place on Wednesday. While the show was underway, Steve Jobs was next door at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts announcing Apple’s new iPad. With a decorated building and a flurry of media, excitement was in the air.

The grand finale of Wednesday was the 2009 Prism Awards for Photonics Innovation sponsored by SPIE and Laurin Publishing. The winners were announced at a banquet held at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square. Congratulations to Agilent Technologies, Hamamatsu Corporation, Infra Tec Infrared LLC, IRphotonics, Laser Operations LLC, LightLab Imaging Inc, Lehighton Electronics, Linden Photonics, National Semiconductor, and Swamp Optics on their victories. I can’t wait to see who wins next year.

The successful show wrapped up after another day of exhibits on Thursday. I’m already looking forward to next year. See you in 2011, San Francisco!

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Lesley Baumann

Lesley Alexandra Jump Baumann is a designer, artist and animal lover.

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