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Poincaré Webinar Series on Optical Polarization and Related Phenomena
Monthly speakers explore topics derived from Henri Poincaré’s work on optical polarization and demonstrate applications of polarization techniques.
Join the series’ chairs and moderators – Thomas A. Germer, National Institute of Standards and Technology (USA); Jessica C. Ramella-Roman, Florida International University (USA); and Tatiana Novikova, École Polytechnique (France) – and be part of the discussion.

Tuesday, 24 November, 5:00 am PT (1300 UTC): The answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything is… polarized!
Speaker: Frans Snik
Leiden Univ. (the Netherlands)

Description: The vast majority of information about our universe comes to us in the form of light. The polarization of the light from astronomical objects can uniquely elucidate e.g. their substructures and magnetic fields. But polarization-based techniques and polarimetry are also crucial to answer one of humanity’s biggest questions: “Are we alone?”. We now know from indirect methods that every star in the sky hosts at least one planet, but is still extremely challenging to actually see these planets. For instance, an Earth analog orbiting a solar-type star is ten billion times fainter in visible (reflected) light. That light is, however, polarized, which enables us to boost the contrast by orders of magnitude, and unambiguously characterize the planetary atmosphere and surface. We combine polarimetry at systems level with adaptive optics, wavefront sensing, and coronagraphy, all of which employ polarization-based and liquid-crystal techniques, and enable broadband operation and spectroscopy/spectropolarimetry.

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Jan 26, 2021 05:00 AM
Feb 23, 2021 05:00 AM
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Speakers

Frans Snik
24 November, 5:00 am PT (1300 UTC): The answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything is… polarization! @Univ. Leiden (the Netherlands)
The vast majority of information about our universe comes to us in the form of light. The polarization of the light from astronomical objects can uniquely elucidate, for example, their substructures and magnetic fields. The discussion will explore how we combine polarimetry at systems level with adaptive optics, wavefront sensing, and coronagraphy, all of which employ polarization-based and liquid-crystal techniques and enable broadband operation and spectroscopy/spectropolarimetry. We are developing dedicated spectropolarimeters to observe the Earth-as-an-exoplanet from the ISS and from the Moon, and perform circular polarimetric observations of vegetation and beetles to establish remote-sensing of homochirality as a powerful biomarker. All this work also leads to spin-offs in Earth observation, such as measuring the effects of air pollution on our climate and health.
Bart Kahr
Tuesday, 26 January 2021, 5:00 am PT (1300 UTC): Poincaré and his Sphere(s) @New York University (United States)
Poincaré invented chaos theory, the mathematics of topology, and the Lorentz transformations as well as his polarization sphere. This discussion explores Poincaré’s path to his sphere through his work at the Bureau des Longitudes, an institution fully devoted to plotting points on spheres.
François Goudail
Tuesday, 30 March 2021, 5:00 am PT (1300 UTC): Polarization information processing @Institut d’Optique Graduate School (France)
François Goudail graduated from the École Supérieure d’Optique and obtained his PhD from the University of Aix-Marseille III. He was an associate professor at Fresnel Institute (Marseille) He is now professor at the Institut d’Optique Graduate School. His research topics include information extraction in polarization images, and “co-design” of optical systems and image processing algorithms for remote sensing and microscopy applications.