Despite the trouble being encountered by some fledgling U.S. optics firms, when the University of Arizona’s Optical Sciences Center celebrated its 25th anniversary in March with the opening of a new $3 million building, optics specialists Used the occasion to herald a bright future for the discipline overall and for the young scientists who are enentering it. “I’m so bullish on the field that we’ve already selected an architect for the next addition to the center,” said Robert Shannon, its director.

Shannon and others point out that optical scientists will increasingly be needed to fuel a burgeoning multi-billion-dollar industry that makes everything from lasers and telescope mirrors to fiber optics and compact discs. The industry has been growing so quickly that the nation’s two leading optical sciences schools—Arizona and the University of Rochester—cannot keep up with the demand for their graduates—despite the two schools’ efforts to expand to meet the...

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