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Southampton inaugurals to address advances in photonics

Published: 10 May 2005

The 'magical' qualities of technology and its potential to transform our lives will be addressed this month at the University of Southampton. Inaugural lectures by Professor Greg Parker and Professor James Wilkinson from the University's School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) and Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC), which will take place on Wednesday 18 May, will address how technological advances in the worlds of photonics and nanoscale systems are making far-reaching new developments possible.

Professor James Wilkinson will deliver a lecture entitled 'Photonics in Transition', during which he will describe how, following the transformation of information and communications technologies by optical devices over the past 20 years, photonics is now making rapid advances in other fields including biology.

Professor Wilkinson commented: "Photonics is now playing a key analytical role in the life sciences and the knowledge gained is leading to new chemical and biologically-inspired techniques to provide low-cost devices for future telecommunications systems."

In his lecture entitled 'Indistinguishable from Magic', Greg Parker who is Professor of Photonics at the University, will describe advances in the study of light, optical instruments, optical micro-devices and photography. He will also demystify current technology in terms of how it deals with fractals, chaos, complexity and symmetry.

Professor Parker commented: "One of the main aims of this lecture is to show how current technology, much of which we take very much for granted, comes pretty close to what you might consider "magical" when you realise what's going on under the lid of the box. There are other themes that tangle and interweave and the final outcome, if I have been successful, is to make you question that indefinable thing we call reality."

Notes for editors

  1. The lectures take place in the Turner Sims Concert Hall, on the University's Highfield Campus on Wednesday 18 May. Professor Wilkinson's lecture begins at 3.30 pm, and Professor Parker's lecture begins at 5pm.
  2. The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for leading-edge research and scholarship. The University has over 20,000 students and over 5,000 staff. Its annual turnover is in the region of £270 million.
  3. The School of Electronics and Computer Science is the UK's largest and most successful university department integrating Computer Science, Electronics and Electrical Engineering. Among its distinguished staff has been Professor Alec Gambling, who will chair Professor Wilkinson's lecture. In the 1960s Professor Gambling ushered in the next generation of communications technology when he demonstrated that glass fibres could transmit modulated laser light.

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