by Chad Husko
A quick examination of labs around Columbia, or just about anywhere in the U.S., reveals people from many different cultures researching side by side. Though the labs are multi-cultural in name, the environs are shaped largely by their host country. As a U.S. citizen, I often wondered what it might be like to research under a different set of cultural norms and social values. This past year I successfully competed in the Fulbright grant competition and was awarded the opportunity to immerse myself in the scientific culture of France.
For the ‘07-’08 academic year, I will be working with colleagues at Thales Research and Technology, a pan-European industry consortium in Palaiseau, France (~17 miles south of Paris). Together we will be examining optical properties of semiconductors for communication applications. An interesting side note, Thales works closely with Alcatel, which recently purchased the well known Bell Labs. The Thales campus is conveniently located adjacent to L’École Polytechnique, one of the most prestigious science and technology universities in France, as well as the Charles Fabry Institute of Optics. The proximity of these resources will no doubt allow further intercultural scientific dialog. APAM has been successful in past Fulbright competitions. MSE graduate Stephanie Grancharov (Ph.D. ’05) conducted part of her studies at the Max Planck Institute in Germany in ’04-’05.
An exciting year of research and culture à la Française lies ahead of me. Look for a follow-up story next year! Deepest appreciation to my adviser, Prof. Chee Wei Wong, of the CU Nanophotonics lab, and the continuing support of all of my friends and mentors in APAM.