UCF’s Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers (CREOL) will host its annual Industrial Affiliates Symposium of industry leaders and photonics researchers Thursday and Friday, March 12-13, this year celebrating the International Year of Light.

The program theme, “Advances in Optics & Photonics,” will feature lab tours, exhibits, short courses, technical symposiums, and a lecture by science and technology writer Jeff Hecht.

The short courses range from optical fiber communication to transition-metal solid-state lasers, and the technical symposiums cover topics such as Multimaterial Chalcogenide Fibers for Midinfrared Applications.

Hecht will present the lecture Evolving Lasers to Solve Problems at 1:50 p.m. Friday at the Student Union’s Pegasus Ballroom. His talk will describe how lasers and their applications have evolved in the past and will continue to change to benefit technology.

Hecht is a contributing editor for Laser Focus World and has written on lasers, photonics and fiber optics for more than 30 years. He received a B.S. in electrical engineering from California Institute of Technology, is a senior member of the Optical Society of America and a life member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

The International Year of Light is a global initiative adopted by the United Nations to raise awareness about optical technologies and how they provide solutions to worldwide challenges in energy, education, agriculture, communications and health.

Activities at the symposium are free, but CREOL asks that participants sign up. Registration and a schedule of events can be found at http://www.creol.ucf.edu/Partnerships/Affiliates/AffiliatesDay2015/.