What is ICO?
The International Commission for Optics was created in 1947. It is an Affiliated Commission of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP), and a Scientific Associate of the International Council of Science (ICSU). Its objective is to contribute, on an international basis, to the progress and diffusion of knowledge in the field of optics.
The Commission has three categories of Members : Territorial Committee Members (53 members including 13 Associate Members), International Organisation members (7 members). The governing body of ICO is its General Assembly, usually held every three years during an ICO Congress that includes an international conference on optics and photonics. Between General Assemblies, a Bureau is responsible for the conduct of the Commission. The Bureau consists of the President, the Past-President, the Secretary General and the Associate Secretary, the Treasurer, and fifteen Vice-Presidents, (eight elected) of whom at least two are from industry.
In order to serve and be representative of the optics community worldwide, ICO maintains contacts with its Members and with optical scientists in all countries and welcomes all new contacts. Together with the other societies involved, it contributes to the coordination of international activities in optics such as in particular scientific meetings.
In addition to its Congresses, ICO initiates international topical meetings, and acts as a cosponsor for a number of international scientific meetings organised by other bodies. All the update information on meetings with ICO participation is appearing on the special section at this web site.
ICO has established a Committee for the Regional Development of Optics and has contacts with the International Centre for Theoretical Physics, ICTP, Trieste, Italy in order to find new ways to help to optical scientists and engineers in developing countries, in particular through the exchange of information and through the joint organisation of schools. Under a Proceedings Donation programme, some libraries in developing countries can receive copies of the proceedings of Conferences with ICO participation.
Schools with ICO participation are of a typical duration two or three weeks, for the main benefit of optical scientists and engineers in non industrialised countries. The contribution of ICO is mainly in the form of support in establishing the programme and finding the appropriate instructors.
A Newsletter covering ICO activities is published four times a year and posted in the ICO webpage. Printed copies of the ICO Newsletter may be obtained from the ICO secretariat as per request.
- ICO Prize
- IUPAP Young Scientist Prize on Optics
- ICO Galileo Galilei Award
- ICO/ICTP Gallieno Denardo Award
ICO has established a Travelling Lecturer Programme to promote lectures on modern aspects of optics by scientists of international reputation with good lecturing skills. The program is aimed more particularly at developing nations, even though it is not necessarily restricted to them. As a rule it is expected that the lecturer's local expenses will be met by the host institution and that ICO's contribution will be toward travel costs.
ICO has launched a triennial series of books, entitled "Trends in Optics". These books provide an authoritative overview of research that is underway in the field of optics throughout the world. The articles, which are suitable for the specialist and non-specialist alike, consist of general, readable review of many different aspects of optical science and engineering. The royalties typically paid to the editor and the authors are instead paid to ICO to provide additional funds to such activities as the Travelling Lecturer Programme. In addition to the above activities, ICO has established a Committee on Standards, a Long Range Planning Committtee and a Education in Optics Committee.
ICO Secretariat edits the Triennial Report every three years, under the label of Green Book "Toward ICO-x". A limited number of copies are distributed among all the Territorial Committees. An electronic file is also available at ICO web site.