Optics reshapes the world
Martti Kauranen attends international conferences on a regular basis, because scientific knowledge accumulates and matures through dialogue.
“Most of the latest breakthroughs in science wouldn’t have been possible without optics. Albeit nearly invisible, optical systems are ubiquitous in modern society,” says Professor Martti Kauranen.
Kauranen is the Head of the Nonlinear Fiber Optics Group at TUT. In a research career spanning three decades, he has been part of and witnessed ground-breaking optical discoveries that have changed the world.
“Nowadays data travels along optical fibres. We watch films and play games on Blu-ray. Eye operations and other surgical procedures and measurements that require ultimate accuracy are performed with lasers.”
Being active pays off
It’s incredible to finally understand something that once seemed incomprehensible.
Kauranen’s scientific career took off in the USA, where he completed his doctorate in the 1980s.
“I relocated to Belgium in the early 1990s and worked there as a post-doc for seven years. In 1999, I was persuaded by Markus Pessa and Rolf Hernberg, two of the world’s foremost authorities on the field, to take up a professorship at Tampere University of Technology (TUT).
Kauranen has kept in touch with the colleagues he met in the early stages of his career and established an extensive network of new contacts over the years.
“TUT enjoys an international reputation for research in optics and optoelectronics, but we’re a small community. We need to be active and attend conferences personally. It’s not enough to publish scientific papers.”
Kauranen attends international optics conferences regularly and holds 10-20 presentations a year.
He believes that the importance of international scientific communication cannot be overemphasized.
“It’s so important to attract attention to your group’s results and hear what others are up to. Scientific dialogue stimulates new ideas.”
“For example, my group and I have been exploring the optical properties of metal nanoparticles for close to a decade. I got the initial idea while attending a conference.”
Martti Kauranen says that his research is driven by pure curiosity.
“It’s incredible to finally understand something that once seemed incomprehensible,” he says.
Professor Martti Kauranen was elected a fellow of the Optical Society of America (OSA) in spring 2013.
The Fellow designation was awarded to Kauranen in recognition of his ground-breaking research results concerning the nonlinear phenomena of surfaces, thin films and nanostructures and related multipole phenomena.
Established in 1916, OSA is the foremost scientific society in its field and dedicated to advancing and disseminating optics research. Currently around 50 per cent of OSA’s 17,000 members reside outside of the United States.
The number of Fellows is limited by OSA’s bylaws to be no more than 10 per cent of the total membership. In addition to Kauranen, only two Finns have been elected as OSA Fellows.