Polarization Optics 2003
The ICO Topical Meeting on Polarization Optics was organized in Polvijärvi, Finland, June 30 - July 3, 3003. It was preceded by the ICO Bureau meeting in Joensuu, Finland. The conference and holiday center "Huhmari", which was the venue of the conference, is located some 30 km from Joensuu in eastern Finland.
The program committee was chaired jointly by Asher A. Friesem (Israel) and Jari Turunen (Finland), while Timo Jääskeläinen (Finland) acted as the chairman of the local organizing committee. The practical arrangements were the responsibility of the Department of Physics of the University of Joensuu.
The conference was endorsed the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP), as well as by European Optical Society (EOS), Finnish Optical Society (FOS), Optical Society of America (OSA), and the International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE). The conference and the associated ICO Bureau meeting were sponsored financially by the following organizations and companies:
The sponsorship money from ICO (USD 3000) was used to waive the registration fees of selected delegates from less favored regions, while the money received from the Academy of Finland (EUR 6000) was used to waive the registration and accommodation fees of several invited speakers. Money received from other sources was shared between these two purposes, and it greatly helped to keep the registration fees at low levels (standard fee EUR 325, EOS members 285, full-time students 250). The fees included, e.g., all meals, free transportation to the conference site, welcome reception and conference dinner, as well as the conference excursion). These low fees were possible only because of the voluntary work of many students of the hosting organization; no costly "professional" services were needed. The accommodation fees at Huhmari were also very reasonable, ranging from EUR 44 to EUR 65 per night in a comfortable hut with free use of all the bath/pool/sauna facilities at Huhmari. In conclusion, the local organizers made every reasonable effort to make it possible for delegates from less favored territories to participate in the conference.
The conference attracted 116 participants (including 23 full-time students) and 19 accompanying persons from 26 countries:
Before the start of the scientific program of the conference on Monday, June 30, a welcome reception was offered on Sunday evening. Food and drinks were plentiful and the atmosphere grew rather hilarious during the three-hour event!
The scientific program started with the ICO Galileo Galilei Award Lecture by Rashid Ganeev. This was followed by the plenary talk of Emil Wolf on Young's classic interference experiment, all aspects of which are, as yet, not explained. Altogether, 12 oral sessions were held in single-session format, and they were divided into sessions focused on linear, nonlinear, and quantum polarization optics. The key concept "polarization optics" was defined very broadly; in effect all contributions somehow related to the vectorial nature of light were welcome. One of the sessions was devoted to welcome the three Baltic states, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, as new members of ICO. In this session a renowned member of the optics community of each Baltic country gave an extended talk. The total number of talks was approximately 50. In addition, the program contained a poster session, which also featured approximately 50 contributions.
The following special presentations were given:
ICO Galileo Galilei Award Presentation (year 2002):
Rashid Ganeev (Uzbekistan), "Frequency conversion of polarized radiation in various media"
Emil Wolf (USA), "Young's interference experiment two hundred years later"
The conference received considerable publicity in local media. The highlight of the press conference was the interview of Professors Emmett Leith and Adolf Lohmann, who told the media about the birth of holography and diffractive optics, respectively. Both large optical holograms fabricated in Joensuu by the company Holotek Oy and diffractive elements fabricated at the University of Joensuu and at Nanocomp Ltd (Joensuu) were on display, and they received considerable interest among reporters.
The social program of the conference was extensive, giving the delegates an opportunity to form new contacts in a relaxed atmosphere. Firstly, all meals were on purpose self-service type, with a wide selection of food and no fixed seating. Monday and Wednesday afternoons were free of technical sessions for a few hours, enabling the delegates to participate in the many sports and recreational activities offered by Huhmari. On Tuesday afternoon there was an option (used by many) to visit the Puntarikoski Castle, which is being constructed by the conference co-chair Jari Turunen, and to see features such as the guillotine and the torture chamber. On Tuesday afternoon a conference excursion was organized to the Koli Mountain, which is often referred to as the "national scenery" of Finland. After the excursion there was a special Midnight Session, in which a representative from Nokia presented an informal talk on the secrets of the company's success story. This session was held outdoors, being accompanied by a grilled-sausage party, since there is no real night Joensuu in mid-summer: the sun barely sets below the horizon for a short while. On Wednesday evening, after the conference dinner, an orchestra played traditional Finnish dancing music, including the Finnish version of tango. Immediately after the conference, on Friday, July 4, there was an opportunity to visit the Department of Physics of the University of Joensuu and to see, e.g, the lithographic facilities and the color research labs. After that several delegates witnessed a public PhD defense in the unique Finnish style, with the candidate, the opponent, and the custodian all wearing tailcoats.
In the beginning of the conference the weather looked a bit gloomy, but it soon turned out great, with sunny and warm weather that in fact lasted in Finland for the rest of July. Several delegates stayed in Finland for some time after the conference on vacation, and they probably did not curse the weather!
Asher A. Friesem
Financial outcome (EUR)
* Does not contain mailing, telephone, and other general costs, which were covered by the Department of Physics of the University of Joensuu.