SIAM News Blog

Optics and Photonics Workshop at the SIAM Annual Meeting

By Shari Moskow

We are excited to announce the “NSF-SIAM Optics and Photonics Workshop,” which will take place on July 11, 2016, as part of the 2016 SIAM Annual Meeting in Boston, MA. Featuring several accomplished applied mathematicians in the field of optics and photonics, workshop talks will survey the field and its open problems for the broader applied mathematics community. A representative from the NSF Division of Mathematical Sciences will discuss and answer questions about the new NSF program in Optics and Photonics.  

Advances in our understanding of the behavior of light are necessary both for improving current technologies and realizing new and envisioned ones. These technologies directly influence a variety of sectors in our society including communications, defense and national security, energy, and medicine. Due to recent developments in computational tools, materials science, and nanostructure fabrication, mathematicians have a larger role than ever to play in this field. This workshop can help applied mathematicians bring their vision of the future of mathematics in optics and photonics to a large mathematical audience. We hope the meeting will encourage collaborations among researchers in this field from a diverse set of scientific backgrounds. 

Among others, workshop topics will include the following: (1) Research on light-matter interaction, including—but not limited to—low-loss metamaterials, plasmonics, and quantum phenomena; (2) Multiphysics coupling between classical electromagnetic and quantum mechanical phenomena; (3) The science of light propagation and imaging through scattering, dispersive, and turbulent media, which encompasses advances in radiative transport theory, statistical inverse theory, numerical inversion methods, simulation models, and hybrid imaging models; and (4) Nonlinear photonics and the interplay between nonlinearity and randomness. 

These challenges in optics and photonics touch on many areas of mathematics, including partial differential equations, ordinary differential equations, dynamical systems, functional analysis, numerical analysis, geometry, calculus of variations, probability, and stochastic differential equations, among others. Traditionally, models from different optical regimes have been associated with very different mathematical concepts and techniques. The development of the next generation of optical devices will require coupling of these models, and collaborations among mathematicians from various backgrounds. 

Thanks to the NSF, we expect to have funding available for researchers from underrepresented groups, graduate students, postdoctoral associates, and junior researchers to travel and participate in the meeting. See the SIAM annual meeting webpage to apply. The workshop will expose students and junior scientists to critical research areas in optics and photonics, as well as relevant and important areas of application of mathematics and computational science.

The workshop is timely in that it precedes the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications’ thematic year on Mathematics and Optics. The year-long (2016-2017) program will address the study of optical phenomena and associated areas of applied and computational mathematics, with the goal of connecting mathematical and computational scientists with the interdisciplinary community.

Shari Moskow is a professor and department head of mathematics at Drexel University. She is currently a co-organizer of the IMA thematic year on Mathematics and Optics, and also organized the workshop discussed above.

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