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Buffalo welcomes scientists worldwide to EDISON conference


An estimated 120 experts in semiconductor technology are in Buffalo this week for a major international forum where computers, solar energy and other so-called smart technology will be discussed.

It's known as the Electron Dynamics in Semiconductors, Opto-Electronics and Nano-Structures conference, known more simply as EDISON. It happens once every two years and Buffalo is hosting its 20th edition.

Experts in the semiconductor field are in Buffalo from from Asia, Europe and North America. 

"This conference deals with very fundamental, basic science. But it is the basic and fundamental science of semiconductors that ultimately drives the technology like solar cells, that we have placed so much hope in for the future of Buffalo," said Jonathan Bird, professor and chairman of the Electrical Engineering Department of the University at Buffalo.

Buffalo and Western New York will have the opportunity to show off its efforts to move away from the heavy industry of the past toward "smart technology." Buffalo's forthcoming SolarCity/Tesla/Panasonic project as well as other developments in downtown and Niagara Falls are expected to be discussed.

The region also has the opportunity to show off its history of technological innovation. Bird noted that a visit to Niagara Falls is among the plans, including a stop at the statue memorializing inventor and electrical engineer Nikola Tesla.

"I wouldn't be surprised on Wednesday afternoon to find a large number of scientists congregating around the statue of Tesla, taking selfies," Bird said. "It might do well to make the local community know there's nothing strange going on here, just a group of very enthusiastic scientists." 

The conference runs through Friday.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.