Dr Fu-Jen Kao is a travelling lecturer of the Optical Society of America. Dr Kao works at the Institute of Biophotonics in Taiwan and is also the Vice President
of the Asia Pacific Physical Society. His area of expertise, although vast, currently focuses on Microscopy Technology and Biophotonics sensing. He has also been the former president of Taiwan Local Section of OSA. While he honored us with his presence during our International Symposium in March, 2018, a few of our members had a chance to interview him. Here’s the Transcribed version!
Yash: Sir, could you start by introducing yourself and a bit about your academic history?
Dr. Fu Jen Kao: Basically, I grew up in Taiwan and did my undergraduate there. I went to the United States for my graduate studies in advanced degrees (Masters and PhD). My alma mater is Cornell University in NY. After I completed my PhD, I returned to Taiwan to start my academic career. I think many young Indians have a similar experience. They return to establish their career.
Yash: So, why did this field fascinate you in particular?
Dr. Fu Jen Kao: You mean, what was the reason. I have to go back thirty years ago. Taiwan was still developing. Most of the technology and science, Taiwan was lagging behind. We knew that and saw that if we stayed in taiwan we would not learn the better way and cutting edge technology. That was the biggest motivation for us to go abroad. To see how the world was like and to see how other people are doing these things. It was the scientific culture and even economic interest.
Yash: Sir, is there any advice you’d like to give the youngsters?
Dr. Fu Jen Kao: You need to have the persistence to get answers. Students in India and especially Manipal University are very prospective themselves.
Yash: Sir, how do you see the field of Optics progressing?
Dr. Fu Jen Kao: The field of photonics is evolving. One very successful and renowned examples of optical communication is the optical fibres because mobile phone networks are enabled by optical fibres. Various touchscreen technologies are also enabled due to optical technologies. Even illumination, we need light to light up our world. That is an important aspect of our world. The coming aspect is power. How do we power our mobile phones etc.? THe source of glowing technology is light. Whether it comes biotechnology, solar panels, we need light. It’s also an enabling tool for technology and science as well.
Yash: I was recently reading about optics in biomedical technology and realised how much light has influenced medicine so much.
Dr. Fu Jen Kao: I think calling light or photonics an _________ is quite an important term.
Thyagarajan: Sir, I would like to ask a question. Optogenetics is a very recent development. How do you think we can make it more efficient considering it is a very complex field as well?
Dr. Fu Jen Kao: Honestly, I had never heard of Optogenetics as such. Whoever started this field would get the Nobel Prize. It’s too early to say what the impact of this field would be. Using light to fix or to treat or cure whatever ailment a person is affected by.