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Light Night 2018 report on 'Choices Today, Chances Tomorrow'


SPIE student chapter at Vrije Universiteit Brussels (VUB) successfully organized the annual 'Light Night'. For this years’ edition the focus of the 'Light Night' was 'Photonics: Choices Today, Chances Tomorrow'. With this theme, we took a closer look at the advantages of having a Photonics background, explored how we can take smart career decisions and how to solve problems in academia and industries effectively and efficiently. Students, alumni, professors and professionals joined in for an update of the most recent opportunities that photonics and optics have in store today to build a great future.

Prof. Hugo Thienpont, vice-rector Innovation and Industrial Valorization at VUB and director of B-PHOT Brussels Photonics, gave a motivating talk about his research career in Photonics and the choices he made to attain his goals and realize his dreams.

From his experience as an excellent researcher and supervisor, he shared a few recommendations for students:

· Listen carefully to your visionary mentors

· Work smart and hard

· Boldly go where (no)one has gone before, face and tackle the challenges heads- up.

· Life and work is great fun when you are passionate

· Be a great team player.

Dr. Jean-Luc Doumont, the renown international SPIE speaker from Principiae, presented the audience with a most inspiring talk: 'Everyone's favorite mistakes'. In a nutshell, we should be careful making assumptions, as faulty assumptions lead to faulty decisions and actions. He illustrated his point of view with many examples of frequent mistakes many people make and might not be aware off. He made a wise proposal: let’s get rid of assumptions and apply critical thinking in research and daily life. To generate the desired action, we need to communicate clearly, it makes life much easier with more fun!

The talks were followed by a Q&A session. The two speakers stood together and had a complementary, yet well-balanced exchange of views on the questions students asked regarding career decisions and life as a PhD student. Never give in to self-pity and follow your passion were the key takeaways. The president of SPIE student chapter Qing Liu also gave a brief overview of the various activities and had the pleasure to announce the winners of the SPIE VUB student chapter Photography Contest 2018 at the end of this event. We closed the Light Night with a reception where all attendees could network and personally interact with the speakers.