The leading global forum for light science and technology today launched a new campaign to highlight its values and engage new audiences worldwide.
The ‘Optica Community’ campaign presents a series of extraordinary life stories celebrating Optica's global diversity and the values its members share.
“In these profiles, you will see demonstrated Optica values at work,” said P. Scott Carney, Chief Scientist at Optica. “These are stories about impact - impact of our community on impressive and inspiring individuals, and the impact of those individuals on our growing, inclusive global community of nearly half a million professionals from 183 countries.”
The first Optica Community story was published today: a profile of Kurdish-Canadian quantum scientist, Ebrahim Karimi, Group leader of Structural Quantum Optics at the University of Ottawa, Canada and co-director of Nexus for Quantum Technologies.
His is a compelling tale of perseverance overcoming extreme circumstances and finding belonging in an international community where he has become one of the world's leading quantum scientists.
In “What Doesn’t Kill Me,” a fascination with light helped Karimi survive war-torn Iran. Born just after the Islamic Revolution in 1978-79, he went from a prosperous life with a politician father to one of poverty and displacement.
After the ascendence of Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979, new government forces targeted people like his father and uncles whose beliefs opposed the new regime. “My two uncles were killed, one executed in the city, the other dying in the conflict. Then, I learned my father had been arrested and faced the death penalty."
Fleeing to his grandparents’ home in the mountains at age 10, he had no electricity, central heating, or running water. But he thrived by teaching himself calculus from old books and taking inspiration from the natural phenomena around him.
Optica’s Community Values
Optica has been a respected authority on light science and technology for more than a century, with a heritage dating back to the founding of the Optical Society of America in 1916. Optica’s publications, programs, events, and advocacy support the optics and photonics community as they invent the future and uncover the beautiful secrets of the universe with light. Today, Optica unites a diverse population of students, scientists, engineers and professionals working in light science and technology. The society is a champion for the field and advocates for the interests of its members around the world.