Photonics West 2014, San Francisco

Photonics West 2014, held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, Feb 4-6, was a great 3-day conference, but I learned a very important lesson.


If you think that the first few hours of a conference is not relevant to you, and you can fly in that morning, think again. I had originally planned to be at the conference by about 11:30 am, so that I could fly in that morning and save a hotel-night expenses.

However, Denver’s temperature fell well below freezing, and I think for two days it was in the negative Fahrenheit. Therefore, the inbound flight was delayed. When we finally boarded, we had to wait for the plane to be de-iced. I finally arrived at the conference at 2:30pm. So next time I’m going to fly in the night before.

All is well that ends well. Photonics West 2014 is probably the biggest photonics exhibition in the world, with more than 1,200 exhibitors. I walked more miles in those three days than I’ve done in a month.

I talked with senior executives from both the US and Europe. Didn’t realize that Europe had as large a photonics industry as they did, mostly German and British. Also, noted that Chinese companies occupied about 1/8th of the exhibition space. The Japanese too, but that was not a surprise to me.

Had time to catch up with my friends in San Francisco. Mehfil Indian Cuisine And Bar on 2nd St., served excellent salmon tikka, chicken curry, dahl, and naans. I had an Indian beer – the first time I’ve tried Indian beer (larger) – and it was good. My apologies I’m not good at describing food or drinks.

1978 was the first time I was in San Francisco. We walked up & down Lombard St., rode the trams, went to Fisherman’s Wharf, etc. I remember that we would check into the cheapest hotels, and at San Francisco the hotel manager asked us how long we would be staying. We said until Monday. He said we could stay as the hotel would be closing for good on Monday!

San Francisco is a beautiful walking city, and I hope one day this city will be home.


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