Sunday, November 15, 2009

A resource for those curious about current topics in optics

For anyone interested in cutting edge Optics with a capital "O" I highly recommend the weekly colloquia at the University of Arizona, which is where I studied optics. A few weeks back I remember wishing that they would video tape their colloquia, because they are extremely informative and interesting ~1 hour long talks by THE experts of optics on their various subjects of expertise. Well I'm pleased to report that someone else thought of this over 1.5 years ago, and there is now an almost two year video colloquia archive.

Obviously not every talk will be of interest to everyone, but if you find a talk covering an area of interest to you, watching it will be most enlightening. I just watched a recent one on mirror technologies for giant mirrors--about how they make, figure/polish and test these massive 8 meter telescope mirrors that are cropping up in telescopes (and drawingboards) around the world--and was suitably impressed with the creativity of the human mind.
If you already understand optics this is a real treasure trove, if you are simply curious you will find the answer to many questions you've had and many more you perhaps didn't know how to ask. Enjoy.


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