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Paper: The UW Center for Photonics Instrumentation Education and Research (PIER): An Inquiry-Centered Graduate Training Program
Volume: 436, Learning from Inquiry In Practice
Page: 405
Authors: Sheinis, A. I.; Hooper, E. J.; Eliceiri, K. W.
Abstract: Experimental and/or applied optics is an indispensable part of many research enterprises in a wide range of disciplines, from astronomy to biology, mechanical engineering to medicine, chemistry to atmospheric science, etc. Many researchers have limited background in optics, making it difficult to train their graduate students comprehensively enough so that they in turn can be effective principal investigators in their own optics-based research activities. Even with a mentor who is an expert optical scientist, the traditional apprenticeship training model prevalent in many optics research programs leaves the students with the knowledge needed to execute the aims of their project but insufficient breadth and depth. The emerging University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Photonics Instrumentation Education and Research (PIER) seeks to address these problems by providing a comprehensive multidisciplinary training program for graduate students whose interests and research incorporate advanced optical science and engineering. In addition to coursework, which will comprise the Ph.D. minor, PIER will have an inquiry-based instrument lab to ensure students have an applied knowledge of optics. The heart of the program, this lab will allow teams of early-career graduate students to experience the entire arc of an optics research project, from design to evaluation, to building and testing, and finally application. The projects will be short in duration but focused real-world optical experiments which can be completed by a team at the end of the third year of graduate school, in addition to the usual coursework and beginning Ph.D. research in each student's home program.
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