Keynote Speaker & Plenary Speakers

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Bindu R. Nair
Director of Basic Research, Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), USA

Dr. Bindu R. Nair Bio:

Dr. Bindu R. Nair is the Director of Basic Research within the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). In this role, she is responsible for oversight and coordination of the Department’s $2.5 billion investment in basic science. This investment supports high risk and high pay-off basic research projects in fields including physical science, life science, environmental science, applied mathematics, and others that probe the limits of today’s technologies and discover new phenomena and know‐how that may ultimately lead to future technologies for the Department.

From 2012-2017, Dr. Nair served in various roles including Acting Director and Deputy Director in the Human Performance, Training and Biosystems (HPT&B) Directorate within the Office of the Secretary of Defense. In this role, Dr. Nair was involved in overseeing a broad range of DoD’s science and technology programs that support Warfighter effectiveness. Her specific areas of responsibilities in the office were in environmental technologies, bio-assist technologies (for exoskeletons and prosthetics), human machine teaming, and social behavioral modeling in the information environment.

Prior to her assignment to OSD, Dr. Nair worked for the Department of the Army with oversight responsibilities over the science and technology program in power and energy. She has worked in the DoD laboratory system at Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center as well as in private industry at Foster Miller (Waltham, MA).

Her research expertise is in the field of Material Science and Engineering including nanomaterials, polymers, and organic electronic materials, and she has taught graduate level courses in Polymer Synthesis. She has published primarily in membrane and materials development fields and holds patents in fuel cell technologies. Dr. Nair holds a B.Sc. from the University of Florida and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Materials Science and Engineering.

Plenary Speakers

Dr. David Lambert
Air Force Research Laboratory, Munitions Directorate, USA

Dr. David Lambert Bio:

Dr. David E. Lambert, a member of the scientific and professional cadre of senior executives, is the Chief Scientist, Munitions Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory, Eglin Air Force Base, FL. He serves as the primary authority for the technical content of the directorate’s science and technology portfolio.
Dr. Lambert is a Fellow of AFRL and American Society of Mechanical Engineers and has served in various leader positions in technical communities of Hypervelocity Impact Society, International Ballistics Society and OUSD Joint Munitions Programs. His experimental research in detonation physics and related explosive-metal interactions has led to the transformation of air-launched conventional weapons. Dr. Lambert has co-authored more than 130 papers and proceedings in refereed journals and proceedings. He is currently on several academia and non-profit advisory boards as well as editorial review boards.

Dr. Yuri Kivshar
Nonlinear Physics Center, Research School of Physics,
Australian National University, Australia

Dr. Yuri Kivshar Bio:

Yuri Kivshar received PhD degree in 1984 in Kharkov (Ukraine). From 1989 to 1993 he worked at several research centers in USA and Europe, and in 1993 he moved to Australia where he established Nonlinear Physics Center. His research interests include nonlinear physics, metamaterials, and nanophotonics. He is Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, OSA, APS, SPIE, and IOP. He received many national and international awards including Pnevmatikos Prize in Nonlinear Science (Greece), Lyle Medal (Australia), Lebedev Medal (Russia), The State Prize in Science and Technology (Ukraine), Harrie Massey Medal (UK), Humboldt Research Award (Germany), and SPIE Mozi Award USA).

Dr. Andrea Alù
City University of New York, USA

Dr. Andrea Alù Bio:

Andrea Alù is the Founding Director and Einstein Professor of Physics at the Photonics Initiative, Advanced Science Research Center, City University of New York. He received his Laurea (2001) and PhD (2007) from the University of Roma Tre, Italy, and, after a postdoc at the University of Pennsylvania, he joined the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin in 2009, where he was the Temple Foundation Endowed Professor until Jan. 2018. Dr. Alù is a Fellow of AAAS, IEEE, APS, MRS, OSA, SPIE and NAI, and has received several scientific awards, including the NSF Alan T. Waterman award, the Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship from DoD, the IEEE Kiyo Tomiyasu Award, the OSA Adolph Lomb Medal, the ICO Prize in Optics, and the URSI Issac Koga Gold Medal.

Dr. Shery Welsh
Director, Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), USA
Women in Photonics / Women in Science and Engineering

Dr. Shery Welsh Bio:

Dr. Shery Welsh, a member of the Senior Executive Service, is Director, Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), Arlington, Virginia. In this role, she leads the management of the Department of the Air Force’s global basic research investment. AFOSR has a staff of 200 scientists, engineers and administrators in Arlington and foreign technology offices in London, Tokyo, Santiago, Chile and Melbourne, Australia. Dr. Welsh ensures the success of a nearly $500 million a year basic research investment portfolio and the transition of resulting discoveries to other components of the Air Force Research Laboratory, defense industries and other Defense Department components. The AFOSR’s annual investment in basic research is distributed among roughly 300 academic institutions worldwide, 100 industry-based contracts, and more than 250 internal AFRL research efforts.

Dr. Welsh brings over 34 years of experience from the DoD as a federal employee for the Department of the Air Force and the Missile Defense Agency. In her previous role, she served as the Director, Science & Technology, for the Missile Defense Agency. She sought out cutting-edge technology from across the world within industry, DoD, and the National Laboratories to advance state-of-the-art technologies to benefit the warfighter. Other assignments in the Missile Defense Agency include Chief Engineer for the Airborne Laser Program, Director of Target and Countermeasure Requirements, Chief Scientist for the Interceptor Knowledge Center and Chief Engineer for the Advanced Technology Program Office. Dr. Welsh’s 20 years working for the Air Force afforded her the opportunity to work many programs such as the C-130U Gunship, C-17, Joint Strike Fighter, F-16, B-2, F-22, Airborne Laser, and the Wide-body Aerial Sensor Platform.

Dr. George Fischer
U.S. Army CCDC-AC, FCDD-Weapon Systems and Technology Directorate, USA

Dr. George Fischer Bio:

At heart Dr. George Fischer is still a high school science teacher where he worked after receiving a BS from MIT. In 1996 he finished a PhD in physics at the University of Rochester, studying under Robert Boyd at the Institute of Optics. He then grew, polished, and tested photorefractive crystals at Hanscom AFB. At Bell Labs, he built up a dual-clad amplifier fiber characterization lab and transferred the testing technology to what would become OFS. For the next ten years, he did not become a millionaire at optical startup companies, lending a hand in many areas of research and production of all-optical switches. For the past ten years, he has been at Picatinny Arsenal. There he divides his time between photonics research, propellants research, teaching Advanced Mathematics at the Army Armament Graduate School, and serving as a STEM outreach volunteer. In service to the OSA, he has led two international teams designing the 2013 Solid State Lighting and the 2015 The Power of Light outreach posters. He also revised the activities and experiments on their Optics4Kids website. When it first came out, he borrowed their Optics Roadshow Suitcase so frequently that they ended up giving him two, which he still uses a quarter of a century later. In 2019, he was honored and congratulated in a New Jersey State Senate Resolution for his excellence in STEM efforts.