Mathematical Tools and Representations Used By Employees of Optics and Photonics Companies
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Series/Report no.:2016 Fall Undergraduate Research Student Poster Forum. 10th
Various media outlets have critiqued STEM students' abilities to transition from high school and college to the workplace due to a STEM "skills gap." To become valuable employees, it is essential that students are proficient in various technical and professional skills. In order to determine some of these technical skills, we investigated the mathematical topics and tools that are used in the optics and photonics workplace. We conducted and analyzed interviews with technicians, engineers, and managers at optics companies in the Rochester, New York area. Our analysis showed that, for example, the mathematical topics used range from basic arithmetic by technicians to calculus by engineers; however, both primarily used calculators, Excel, and MATLAB to perform their calculations. We hope to provide insight into how the curriculum for physicists, engineers, and technicians can be modified to place a greater emphasis on the mathematical topics and tools needed for the 21st century workplace.
Mathematical and Physical Sciences
Academic Major: Physics
National Science Foundation
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