Coping with Change

Just a few years after the first laser was demonstrated in 1960, futurist Alvin Toffler coined the phrase "future shock" to describe the sense of dread that some people were feeling about the rapid changes of technology taking place back then. In his subsequent book of the same name, Toffler argued not only that accelerating change was hard to adapt to, but that the acceleration itself was affecting the system — making it necessary, for example, to make decisions at an ever-increasing pace. Now, some 40 years later, the laser has spawned an entire field of technology — optoelectronics — that is changing so rapidly it makes the rate of change of the 1960s pale by comparison. Among other things, product shelf life is shorter than ever, and the concurrent need for very short product-development cycles (or increased "speed to market") has driven the less nimble firms directly into the ground.

At Laser Focus World, we are committed to helping our readers stay abreast of optoelectronics technologies. Our coverage ranges from the relatively well developed, such as optical data storage, to the more arcane, like terahertz imaging or ultrafast lasers. To keep readers current, we employ a worldwide network of full-time and freelance reporters, each with strengths in a particular field. We visit leading technology conferences, and we talk directly to researchers. But equally important, we listen to our Editorial Advisory Board, a panel of volunteers each of whom is expert in his or her own field.

Our advisors play a key role in shaping the editorial content and direction of the magazine. They help plan our editorial coverage, they review and judge entries for the annual Commercial Technology Achievement awards, and they consult with the editors on topics within their area of expertise. Our success at tracking optoelectronics technologies is due in no small part to the continuing help of these individuals.

So this month I would like to take time to thank all the members of our advisory board, past and present, for their contributions to our success. And with great pleasure I welcome seven new members whose expertise ranges from semiconductor lasers to optical communications. Connie Chang-Hasnain is chairman and CTO of Bandwidth9 (Fremont, CA); Klaus Derge is with Derge Management GmbH (Darmstadt, Germany);

L. N. Durvasula is a program manager at DARPA (Arlington, VA); Ron Gibbs is with Gibbs Associates (Dunstable, England); Ken Kaufmann is at Hamamatsu (Bridgewater, NJ); Michelle Shinn is a free-electron laser research scientist at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Newport News, VA); and Jack Tomlinson is a fellow at JDS Uniphase (Freehold, NJ). With such an advisory board, we feel well equipped to help our readers manage their own future shock.