Archive for January 2015

Happy Birthday Marty Dvorin, Founding Professor of the Monroe Community College Optics Program!

January 31, 2015

Martin Dvorin is Professor emeritus of the Optical Systems Technology Program at a Community College.  He began teaching optics at Monroe Community College, on Alexander Street, in Rochester, NY in 1966.

We reprint here a recollection written for us by Marty in 2009, and edited just two months ago.

Happy Birthday Marty!

In the early 1960’s, the Optical Society of America, in a research effort “Optics – an Action Program”, under the direction of its president, Van Zandt Williams, determined that, from retiring and deaths, the United States was losing its optical technicians. Independently, Corwin Brumley, Vice President for R&D at Bausch and Lomb, I, and others around the coffee pot, came to the same conclusion. Optics was changing. We did not have the technicians with the skills needed for present and future projects. All this pointed to an impending national crisis.

One afternoon, in the summer of 1966, while I was working away in my ‘skunk works’ office at Bausch and Lomb, there was a knock on the partition opening that served as a door.

“Martin Dvorin?”  “ The same.  And you are?”  “Frank Milligan, assistant to the Vice President of Faculty at Monroe Community College. May I come in?”

How he was directed to me, I’ll never know, but Dr. Milligan came to ask me to take over the Optical Technology Program at M.C.C. At the time I was Technical Director of a large R&D contract which I could not leave until it was delivered, so we settled for my teaching nights, adjunct, at the ‘campus’, an abandoned high school in downtown Rochester, on Alexander Street.

That first evening, in September 1966, I faced 13 younger Marty Dvorins, when, in 1951, I started my own night school program which concluded a few months previous in the spring of 1966. Among the students present were (the late) Robert Novak and the late Harvey Pollicove. We had a cozy lecture hall, and high school Cenco lab equipment and maybe some from drug stores. We used photographic equipment from the Police Science Department. My shared desk sat in a “bull pen” office, which housed faculty from many departments. (also the late) Dr. Howard Smith of Eastman Kodak was the other part time faculty member.

In the spring of 1968, the B&L project delivered, I could take on full time duties at the College. Since my goal was to teach what would be useful to students in their work, I wanted lots of input from local companies which would hire them, so I visited several in the area and interviewed managers, to fill in a survey that included: equipment the graduates would use, skills they would need, and, most secret, how many would be hired in one, two and five years. The agreement was: information from any one company would be absolutely confidential, but the totals from all companies would be public knowledge. I took the results, and added in a little “technology forecasting” imagining what future developments there might be. All this went into the design of courses and recruiting plans. The advisory committee was pleased with what I presented. Also, I would actively recruit minorities, which in 1968 included women.

The first course in the new campus, a Survey of Optics, for the general public, was presented in the summer of 1968, The first (of my) full-time optics students entered in the fall of 1968, to unfinished facilities. “Blackboards” were corrugated cartons. One day, Dr. James Walsh (yes, deceased), V.P. Faculty, entered and stood quietly in the back of the room. I always invited any member of the faculty to sit in. I was lecturing by the light of my Coleman lantern. Jim had heard of this and wanted to observe it. I was a one-man department, and did a lot of improvisation and construction. Money was tight. Local companies contributed equipment and supplies, and I brought in my own darkroom stuff. Steve Avery (my first student of color) was the first student aide. When he saw me clamber up onto a darkroom counter: “Marty you’re pretty agile for an old guy”. I was forty-five years old- a real old guy!

One morning, Ouida Norris, Chair of Biomedical Engineering Technology, stormed into my sixth floor corner office and showed me a newspaper article saying that, because of financial conditions, the College was investigating canceling her and my programs. Now there were two storming people, barging into the office of Leroy Goode, the College President (yes, died). “Don’t worry, nothing is happening, yet’. Happily. nothing did.

Being a one man department was exhausting me, so I went to the Faculty office, and requested another person. Charles Ball, then in the Audiovisual Department, had expressed interest. But the assistant was adamant. I had in my pocket prepared a letter of resignation, which, until I retired, I always kept in my desk in the event I needed it. (I never did). I flashed it. The guy shrank back, like a vampire does from garlic. Then I went back to my office and called Theron Carter at Kodak.  “Ted, this is Marty. H-E-L-P!”, and hung up the telephone. Somehow, Charlie was transferred to the Optical Technology Department. Rochester industry has always been supportive of the Program. And still is, now in 2012.

Budget money did come in, and we bought better lab equipment from Ealing (I saw a lens bench I bought, in one of your pictures) and others. I called the late Alex Martens, a V.P. at B&L, my alma mater. “Alex, I need a spectrometer”. “Marty, I can’t give you a new one. They are expensive. But I’ll lend you a used one.” “When?” “Oh, I can use one in the next few days.”  Alex, bless him, had one in a raincoat pocket when he came into our lab. Kodak gave us the first lens polishers. 500 plastic containers came from a former employer in Kearney, New Jersey.

Students were coming in; graduates were getting hired. Bob Novak, A.A.S. graduate, having just received his from Arizona University, visited the department. The details are hazy, but Bob joined the department the next semester. Now we were three. And  Howie Smith, of course.

1971 was a watershed year. To widen the market for our graduates, during summers, my late wife Harriette and I motored to New England. We would camp in our 1969 Dodge Sportsman van at Salisbury Beach Park, Mass., and visit companies around Route 128. I signed many confidentiality agreements, saw a lot of ‘company secrets’. Recruiters came from Lawrence Livermore Labs in California, and hired many of our graduates. With four year engineering grads having trouble finding jobs, our story was in the newspapers and on local television. When Dennis Gabor won the Nobel Prize for Holography, Howie and I were invited to explain holography on a morning T.V. program.

The Rochester Section of the O.S.A. held meetings and pre-meeting dinners at the M.C.C. campus, and I was invited to be President of the Rochester O.S.A for the year 1972-1973. In the summer of 1973, Harriette and I drove the van around the U.S.A. and visited Colleges and companies to further expand coverage. Around the Los Angeles area, the S.P.I.E. housed us and arranged for visits to important installations. The Optics Survey went national.

We applied for a federal grant, and were awarded enough money to add, among other things, a Bridgeport milling machine and a Strasbaugh polisher. We hired other people from industry as adjuncts. With an Education Committee, we set up a pioneering transfer program so that graduates from M.C.C. could continue at the Rochester Institute of Technology or the University of Rochester, working towards a B.S.,  M.S., or a PhD degree.

Feature articles describing the optics program were published in Applied Optics and several other international journals. The Optical Engineering Technology program at Monroe had come of age. If not for that visit, I just might have gone over and applied for the job that was offered to me that day in 1966

……Martin Dvorin, Novato, California, October, 2009, rev 10/2014

Slaughter Announces New York Has Been Selected as a Finalist to Compete for Federal Photonics Institute

January 29, 2015

Slaughter Has Spearheaded Effort to Secure Transformational Federal Investment Since 2012

Optics and Photonics Support 17,000 Jobs in the Rochester Region

ROCHESTER, NY – Today, New York’s Rochester-led consortium was named one of three finalists in the country to compete for a significant federal investment in the region’s signature photonics industry, an initiative that Congresswoman Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY) has spearheaded for nearly three years.

In October 2014, at Rep. Slaughter’s behest, President Obama announced that the Department of Defense would take the lead in constructing an Integrated Photonics Manufacturing Institute and would commit $110 million in federal funding for the institute. After that announcement, Rep. Slaughter brought together local and state stakeholders to coordinate a state-wide “concept paper” for the Department of Defense. Today, the Department of Defense announced that the Rochester-led New York State consortium was selected as one of three finalists to submit a full application.

“Over the last three years, we have made substantial progress securing federal investments that have strengthened Rochester’s optics and photonics industry,” Rep. Slaughter said. “These awards have made a difference in creating jobs and spurring innovation but they also demonstrate our region’s ability to work together in order to deliver results for our community. Today, we are one step closer to securing a federal photonics manufacturing innovation institute. I will continue to be relentless in my efforts to secure state and federal investments for an industry that is synonymous with Rochester because I know what it means for our economy and for local jobs. I would like to thank my friend and colleague Joe Morelle who has been a committed partner in this endeavor.”

The New York application was submitted by the Research Foundation for the State University of New York (SUNY) on behalf of the University of Rochester, RIT, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, and other academic and industrial partners from around the country. The consortium brings together a significant number of stakeholders from New York, California, and Massachusetts. In addition to bringing together New York stakeholders to develop the concept paper, Rep. Slaughter has also requested<> a state investment of $250 million to bolster the local and statewide photonics industry, and will seek a significant industry investment – two critical funding sources that make New York’s Rochester-led application an attractive option for a federal investment.

Full proposals are due on March 31, 2015 and a winning application is expected to be announced in June 2015.

The new Integrated Photonics Manufacturing Institute will be focused on integrated photonics manufacturing, a field that impacts a wide range of industries. Integrated photonics manufacturing has the potential to revolutionize the carrying capacity of internet networks to transmit more data at faster speeds; enhance medical technology; reduce the cost of sequencing the human genome; and improve battlefield imaging and radar capabilities for national defense. The winning consortium will be responsible for building the Integrated Photonics Manufacturing Institute. Similar institutes have had dozens of core partners throughout the country that receive investments. Earlier this year, RIT was named a core partner in the Chicago-based Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute and is slated for an investment of up to $20 million.

Here is an extensive timeline of Congresswoman’s Slaughter’s work to bring an optics and photonics institute to Rochester:

*         June, 2012- Rep. Slaughter convenes industry and academic leaders to establish Rochester Regional Optics, Photonics and Imaging Accelerator, Advocate for Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge (AMJIAC)<>.

*         October, 2012- Rep. Slaughter announces a $1.9 million Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator (AMJIA) federal grant to assist the growth of the regional optics industry.<>

*         February, 2013- Rep. Slaughter reconvenes industry and academic leaders to continue collaborative approach on advanced manufacturing grant.

*         June, 2013- Rep. Slaughter secures increase in funding for U of R Laser Lab.<>

*         September, 2013- Rep. Slaughter addresses Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster annual meeting, receives award for supporting industry<>.

*         October, 2013- Rep. Slaughter returns to ITT Exelis to celebrate UR Laser Lab, QED and ITT Exelis collaboration on locally made advanced polishing machine.<,-Exelis-Announce-$2-million-Technology-Partnership-with-the-University-of-Rochester.aspx>

*         October, 2013- Rep. Slaughter’s Op-Ed in support of local optics industry appears in The Hill.<>

*         February, 2014- Rep. Slaughter delivers keynote address to Optical Society of America<>.

*         March, 2014- Rep. Slaughter sends letter to President Obama advocating for a manufacturing institute for optics and photonics in Rochester<>.

*         May, 2014- Slaughter secures AmTech grant to fund development of New York Photonics Manufacturing Initiative<>.

*         May, 2014- Slaughter leads second letter to President Obama advocating for a manufacturing institute for optics and photonics in Rochester<>.

*         May, 2014- Rep. Slaughter Brings Senior Defense Department Leaders to Rochester to Showcase Local Optics and Photonics Capabilities<>.

*         May, 2014- Slaughter helps secure Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership for Rochester, giving region access to $1.3 billion in federal funds to develop OPID industry and create jobs<>.

*         June, 2014- Department of Defense (DoD) <> releases a Request For Information (RFI), giving local and national stakeholders the opportunity to formally make the case for a federal investment in an optics and photonics manufacturing institute.<>

*         July, 2014- Slaughter Announces $2 Million Award for OLEDWorks for Development of High Quality Organic Light Emitting Diode Products<>.

*         September, 2014- Slaughter delivers keynote address to Rochester Regional Photonics Institute, focuses on securing National Manufacturing Institute<>.

*         September, 2014- Rep. Slaughter sends a letter to Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense to make the case for Rochester as a location for a Manufacturing Institute in Optics, Photonics and Imaging.<>

*         October, 2014- Obama Administration commits to creating an Institute for Manufacturing Innovation dedicated to photonics; Rep. Slaughter begins organizing Rochester’s application.<>

*         October, 2014- Slaughter brings U.S. Army Deputy Assistant Secretary Richard Kidd to Rochester to tour local optics and photonics manufacturers.

*         November, 2014- Slaughter convenes high-level meeting with industry, academic, and political stakeholders and begins writing application for the institute.

*         December, 2014- Slaughter writes letter to Governor Cuomo asking for a $250 million investment in the local photonics industry to create jobs and leverage a federal investment.<>

*         January, 2014- Rep. Slaughter announces Rochester named one of three finalists to compete for the institute.

Photonics NMI Competition Highlights Nation’s Industry

January 29, 2015

From the Rochester Business Journal at

The competition that will award more than $200 million to create a manufacturing institute focused on the photonics industry will be launched soon, and Rochester is a prime candidate, officials announced Friday.

The Department of Defense will lead the competition designed to establish a photonics hub, Sen Charles Schumer, D-NY., said.

Albany also is positioned to be a hub, he said.

“Rochester is the world capital of optics and photonics and that’s why I’ve been fighting like heck for over two years to get this investment,” Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-Perinton, said in a statement.

“What the world wants most in optics and photonics is already being developed right here in Rochester. We’ve got the manufacturing facilities, the research institutions, the highly skilled workforce, and now we have the public-private investment opportunity we need to get this industry to the next level.”

A bill to create several institutes for manufacturing innovation has passed the House of Representatives and is working its way through Congress, Schumer said.

“This manufacturing institute will have a transformative impact on our local economy that will help support the thousands of jobs we already have in this industry, and potentially bring many more to Rochester,” Slaughter said in her statement.

“Our region has been leading the world in optics and photonics for decades, which is why we’re going to pursue this competition aggressively.”

Eastman Business Park, the University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology and the CNSE Smart Systems Technology & Commercialization Center in Canandaigua make the Rochester area an ideal spot, Schumer said.

“I have long been a supporter of Upstate New York’s photonics and optics industry, and have pushed to help create just this type of competition to leverage all of the expertise and technical know-how in photonics—in Rochester, Albany and cities across New York—to build on that strong foundation, create jobs and lead our nation in this cutting-edge industry,” Schumer said, in a statement.

Chemical-sensing displays and other surprising uses of Corning glass

January 28, 2015

Someday your smartphone might be able to help you in a new way when you’re traveling: by telling you whether the water is safe to drink.

Although a water app isn’t close yet, researchers at Corning and elsewhere recently discovered that they could use Gorilla Glass, the toughened glass made by Corning that’s commonly used on smartphone screens, to make extremely sensitive chemical and biological sensors. It could detect, say, traces of sarin gas in the air or specific pathogens in water.

Rochester Museum & Science Center at the Hub of Rochester’s International Year of Light

January 24, 2015

Did you know that the stunning lights of aurora borealis are the result of solar wind? Or that every CD and DVD player contains a tiny laser? Or that some people can trick their brains to see “impossible” colors?

Fascinating, right? It’s this fascination with light and an unquenchable interest in researching new concepts that has made the Rochester region a light, imaging and optical technologies worldwide hub.

The United Nations has proclaimed 2015 as the International Year of Light.

Organizations, businesses and museums around the world are planning celebrations to highlight to the citizens of the world the importance of light and optical technologies.

The Rochester Museum & Science Center (RMSC), Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster and other commercial and academic partners have come together to engage the community in a variety of light-based experiences. Partners include the Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Rochester, Monroe Community College, OSA-RS (Optical Society — Rochester Section), ASE Optics, Corning Tropel, IDEX Corporation, Optimax and Second Avenue Learning.

Read more…

International Year of Light kicks off in City of Lights

January 22, 2015

The International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies officially launched today with a two-day opening ceremony at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, with more than 1,000 attendees including international diplomats, Nobel laureates, CEOs, and science and industry leaders from across the globe.

The International Year of Light opening ceremony today at UNESCO headquarters, Paris

The International Year of Light opening ceremony today at UNESCO headquarters, Paris

The opening events highlight the themes of IYL 2015 programs designed to promote improved public and political understanding of the central role of light in the modern world while also celebrating noteworthy anniversaries in 2015 – from the first studies of optics 1,000 years ago to discoveries in optical communications that power the Internet today.

The International Year of light is a global initiative adopted by the United Nations to raise awareness of how optical technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to worldwide challenges in areas such as energy, education, communications, health, and sustainability.

Photographer Paul Reiffer's "Over the Rainbow" won first-place in the SPIE International Year of Light Photo Contest from among a field of nearly 800 entries.

Photographer Paul Reiffer’s “Over the Rainbow” won first-place in the SPIE International Year of Light Photo Contest from among a field of nearly 800 entries.

SPIE, a founding partner of IYL 2015, is promoting the year-long celebration by sponsoring an international photo contest, encouraging participation of those in academia and industry, and providing free downloadable lesson plans and materials for educators to inspire the study of light and light-based technologies.

British photographer Paul Reiffer has been selected from among nearly 800 entries as the winner of  SPIE’s photo contest with his 35-second exposure of Shanghi’s Nanpu Bridge at night. The movement and complexity of the man-made light in the photo was judged to most effectively illustrate the goal of ILY 2015 as well as light in everyday life, the contest theme.

Reiffer, from Weymouth, England, is an award-winning professional photographer whose photography has appeared in numerous international exhibits. His IYL winning image was also selected for the Royal Photographic Society’s International Print Exhibition at the Royal Albert Hall in London where it will be on display from Jan. 16 to Feb. 15.

For more information, visit






Original Optical Systems Technology Program Focuses on Growth, Expansion

January 20, 2015

The success of the Monroe Community College optics program is a stellar example of industry support and involvement, including cash and material donations and direct student support. While some companies just wring their hands and complain that colleges aren’t producing the workforce they need, the Rochester-area employers offer a shining example of how industry and education can – and must – work together for the benefit of both. Kudos to them!
– Judy Donnelly, column editor,

Read more here