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Department of Physics

K-State Physics Graduate Students Participate in Congressional Visits Day

Summer and Wilson work in the JRM LabPhysics graduate research assistants Adam Summers and Derrek Wilson attended Congressional Visits Day in Washington, DC last week. They joined other science and technology cohorts from across the country to educate Congress about the importance of optics and photonics and their impact on the economy.

Summers and Wilson were invited to attend Congressional Visits Day (CVD) by The Optical Society of America (OSA), who participated in the event with National Photonics Initiative (NPI) partners.

According to Summers "Photonics, broadly defined as the science of light and its application, has and will continue to have an enormous impact on our society. It is widely believed among scientists that photonics will be to the 21st century what electronics was to the 20th century."

On the 13th, they met with members of Congress and their staff to discuss the importance of federal investment in research and development (R&D). Adam and Derrek shared information about their research projects, and discussed the relationship between federal R&D funding and job creation at K-State and other institutions.

According to Wilson, "We had a series of meetings with Kansas members of the House and Senate. Our goal was to stress the importance of optics and photonics research and the potential impacts on the state. Kansas' historically small representation in high tech development can be changed with the legislation and federal investments we discussed." These efforts assist in guiding governmental funding and investment in many fields, such as advanced manufacturing, communications and information technology, national defense security, energy, and health and medicine.

Specific items discussed with congressional members included the America COMPETES Act, the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, the Carol D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, as well as the President's Proposed Science Research and Development Budget.

Derrek Wilson is a fourth year graduate student and holds a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Adam Summers is a third year graduate student and National Defense Science & Engineering Graduate Fellow. Both are research assistants in Dr. Carlos Trallero's group and study Atomic, Molecular, and Optical physics in the James R. Macdonald Laboratory of the Physics Department.