Montana State University

MSU hosts international conference on light, color in nature

June 21, 2007 -- By Evelyn Boswell, MSU News Service

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
BOZEMAN -- Light and color can be seen in spider webs, snowflakes, rainbows and northern lights. They're also obvious in the Montana haze that originates in Asia, smoke that arises from brush fires and an odd halo over Bozeman, says the organizer of an international optics conference being held June 25 through 29 at Montana State University.

Approximately 45 scientists from the United States, Canada, Finland, Denmark, Switzerland, Germany, England and Spain are gathering in Bozeman to discuss the latest findings on light and color in nature, said Joe Shaw, conference organizer and head of MSU's Optical Technology Center.

"It's huge in terms of impact world-wide. Almost everybody that's a big name in this field anywhere in the world will be here," Shaw said of the independent gathering of optical scientists. The conference used to be part of the Optical Society of America.

The conference is being held in the Foundation and Alumni Center at the corner of 11th Avenue and Lincoln Road on the MSU campus. Approximately 40 topics will be covered, including spider web optics, northern light detectors, historical halo displays, and daytime visibility of Jupiter.

Shaw said the conference is open to the public, but space is limited so anyone who wants to attend should contact him ahead of time at (406) 994-7261 or The cost of attending the technical sessions is $60 per person for the week.

A free session for the public will feature the scientists' favorite photos and run from 7 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, June 26. Since seating is limited, those wanting to attend should R.S.V.P. to Shaw.

For more information about the conference, go to
For the meeting agenda, see

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or