Welcome to August! The longest/shortest day of 2021 (depending on your geography) is behind us as we’ve entered the second half of the year. In my life, I’m seeing a little bit more “hybrid” activity – I’m still home a lot, but getting out to see people face-to-face is starting to become more regular. This is really encouraging, and we can see this trend emerging in our Society’s upcoming conferences and events. In fact, to me, this emerging hybrid trend is looking very positive: many people can start returning to the traditional way of doing things, but many others who didn’t have the means or opportunity can now participate more directly like they never could before. It’s logistically very challenging for our conference and event organizers (kudos to them for all their hard work and sacrifices), but it provides an immense benefit to our community!

In this month’s issue, we have a great mixture of technical content, personal stories, individual achievements, and community activity. On the technical side, the Research Highlight focuses on using silicon photonics and heterogeneous III-V/Si integration to create high-efficiency solutions for data center links and high performance computing. The melding of the best of all worlds for silicon photonics and III-Vs continues to be a hot topic, and this research article by Dr. Di Liang and colleagues at HPE Labs is a great summary of some of the state of the art.

In Industry Engagement, Dr. Cibby Pulikkaseril provides a captivating personal story of his journey in getting a photonics startup off the ground. Compellingly written and inspirational in its content, this is a must read for anyone who wants to vicariously experience how an idea on paper becomes a physical reality. And for further inspiration, check out the personal stories in the regular series of “Get to Know Your IEEE Photonics Society Leadership,” “This Is My Lab,” and the WaveJobs Interview, as well as all the Membership articles on Diversity initiatives, the inspirational stories and contributions of Women in Photonics, and the activities of our Young Professionals.

To conclude but not be comprehensive (there’s a lot more great content to read in this issue!), I’d like to direct you to our continuing coverage of select conferences. In this issue, the chairs of OFC provide a summary of the highlights of this year’s conference held in June. Additionally, one of our enthusiastic volunteers and chapter chairs, Kithinji Muriungi, reviews his participation in the Special Session “Photonics Vision 2030 in Africa”. It’s great to have this conference back this year, and it was a great success!

Thanks so much for reading the Newsletter. As always, please reach out to us with your feedback and contributions!