Photonics: What is it and what does it mean to Rochester?

Jul 28, 2015

Rochester has been chosen as the national headquarters for a photonics hub that will be launched with more than $600 million in federal, state, university and industry investment. 

Vice President Joe Biden and Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the announcement Monday. New York's bid was selected from among three finalists for the U.S. defense department project. Southern California and central Florida also were in the running. 

Photonics involves the use of light in robotics, medical imaging, national security and other fields. Supporters say the project could mean thousands of jobs for the region as it brings together government, industry and academia to advance photonics research and its use commercially.

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter says the institute could shape the region's economy for decades.

Our sister station in Rochester, WXXI, covered the the story extensively. News Director Randy Gorbman says he believes the decision to located the hub in Rochester may have stemmed from the Eastman Kodak's heritage with the city. 

Gorbman quotes the Vice President as referencing Kodak in saying, "You've gone from making brownie cameras to the lenses that are now mapping the far side of Pluto."
WBFO's Jay Moran spoke with Gorbman about the the announcement on Morning Edition Tuesday.