MP and Strathclyde alumna honoured for promotion of photonics

Carol Monaghan receives the Advocate of Optics Recognition from Professor Ian Walmsley, President of The Optical Society. Photo The Optical Society.

An MP and alumna of the University of Strathclyde has received an international recognition for her work in promoting the photonics and optics industries.

Carol Monaghan, MP for Glasgow North West, received the Advocate of Optics recognition from The Optical Society (OSA) in recognition of her “public policy leadership and efforts in support of the advancement of the science of light.” She is the first UK recipient.

OSA presented the recognition to Ms Monaghan at the University, during the annual conference of Strathclyde-hosted photonics partnership SU2P. The event was attended by world-leading researchers in the field of photonics and optics.

Ms Monaghan graduated from Strathclyde in 1993 with a BSc in Laser Physics and Optoelectronics, before gaining a Postgraduate Certificate in Education in Physics and Mathematics. She went on to teach, including 14 years at Hyndland Secondary in Glasgow as Head of Physics and Head of Science.

As an MP, she initiated the first Commons debate on the UK’s photonics industry and chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on Photonics, having advocated its establishment.

Allister Ferguson, Emeritus Professor at Strathclyde and Chair of SU2P’s Executive Committee, said: “Carol is a worthy recipient of this recognition. She is a committed and fervent campaigner for optics and photonics as a science, an academic subject and an industry. She took her enthusiasm for the subject with her to Westminster and has taken the opportunity to be its advocate in parliament.

“The optics and photonics sector makes a vast contribution of £12 billion to the UK economy and employs 65,000 people. At Strathclyde, and through SU2P, we play a significant role in this; we are among the UK’s leaders in physics research and have strong, productive industry links, as well as having established several highly successful photonics spinout companies.”              

 

OSA President Professor Ian Walmsley said: “Carol has continuously helped promote optics and photonics, both as a teacher and a Member of Parliament. She recognises the tremendous potential of the industry, and works tirelessly to showcase it.

“Throughout her career, her leadership and dedication to promoting optical sciences makes her a wonderful choice for the OSA Advocate of Optics recognition.”

SU2P is a collaboration between institutions in Scotland and the US which focuses on photonics applications in fields including health and renewable energy. Along with Strathclyde, partners in the venture are Stanford University in California, Heriot-Watt University and the Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and St Andrews.

To be recognised as an OSA Advocate of Optics, a public official must have a record consistent with his or her support of science, optics and photonics and be an enthusiastic advocate for science policy issues, with particular regard to the advancement of the science of light.