Lasers in Crete: OSA Fellow Visits IESL-FORTH
Barry R. Masters
OSA Fellow Barry Masters describes his trip to the beautiful island of Crete, where
he met with colleagues from the Institute of Electronic Structure and Laser at the
Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas.
We have all been enriched by the works of Greek philosophers, poets and artists. Ancient thinkers have pondered the logic of mathematics, the concept of motion, and the nature of the universe, matter, mind and body. Today, on the lovely island of Crete in Greece, Greek and foreign scientists are working in modern institutes to enhance our understanding of physics, chemistry and biology through laser physics and its myriad applications. In December 2009, I visited the
Institute of Electronic Structure and
Laser at the Foundation for Research and
Technology-Hellas (IESL-FORTH). My
host was Costas Fotakis, the Institute
director and a professor of physics at the
University of Crete. On my trip, I wanted
to learn about the Cretan approach to scientific research and to access the quality
and diversity of the research programs.
I was also interested in meeting with
students, post-doctoral scientists and
their mentors, and I planned to present
a series of lectures on nonlinear optical
microscopy, resonance energy transfer,
the influence of culture on the development of scientists, and the responsible
conduct of research.
Courtesy of Costas Fotakis
Costas Fotakis (IESL director)
and Barry R. Masters.
In addition, I had the opportunity to visit the medical school at the
University of Crete. In the department
of ophthalmology, I observed a surgical
procedure to alter the refractive power
of the eye with an implanted lens. I also
visited laboratories where vision scientists are using adaptive optics to image
About Crete and IESL-FORTH
The beautiful island of Crete, the largest
Greek island, is situated in the Mediter-
ranean Sea, halfway between Africa and
the mainland of Greece. There are large
mountain ranges (up to 2,452 m high)
that transverse the length of Crete. From
the windows of the buildings at FORTH,
I could see snow-capped mountains, the
white sandy beaches of the northern coast
and the deep blue Mediterranean Sea.
The buildings of FORTH are surrounded
by hills with olive trees and abundant
flowers. Crete maintains its dialect of
Cretan Greek, Cretan wine and many
indigenous dances and passionate music.
The historical record begins with the
Bronze Age Minoan civilization (2700
to 1450 B.C.) and encompasses many
periods that left their cultural influences
on Crete: Classical, Hellenistic, Roman,
Byzantine and Arab.
What sets IESL apart
Costas Fotakis, an OSA Fellow and the
2004 recipient of the OSA Leadership