Hello Reddit! I’m excited to take this time to answer your questions and engage in thought-provoking dialogue around a topic I care very much about – optical communications.
As you may know, optical communications touch nearly every aspect of our daily lives – from our smartphones to the Internet. Originally, I wanted to be a patent attorney. However, my engineering studies at Columbia led me into optics and to Bell Labs. I’ve been fascinated by optics ever since. My research has focused on optical technologies, including in communications, signal processing, networks and fiber optics.
I’ve been involved with The Optical Society (OSA) for the past 30 years, and it has been a great privilege to serve our community as OSA’s President this year. Indeed, in 2016 we are celebrating our 100th birthday and a century of optics innovation and inventors.
Advancements in the science of light (aka fiber optics, lasers, amplifiers, signal processing …) have revolutionized the way we communicate, but the future has even more in store. I look forward to our AMA session not only to share my experience related to optical communications, but also to discuss the way the broader field of photonics is an essential enabler for so much in our society. So, ask me anything!
I’ll be back at 11 am EST (8 am PST, 4 pm UTC) to answer your questions, ask me anything!
The AMA is still in progress
Science AMA Series: Hi Reddit! I’m Alan Willner, President of The Optical Society and Steven and Kathryn Sample Chair in Engineering at USC. I’m talking about the growth and the future possibilities of optical communications. AMA! is still ongoing! After the AMA is finished it will be permanently archived, assigned a digital object identifier (DOI), and formatted as a white paper.
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