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Survey methods that randomly sample respondents from populations abstract their subjects out of the settings where social phenomena form and develop. By measuring the egocentric networks that surround respondents, surveys can re-incorporate these interpersonal contexts. This chapter reviews approaches to egocentric measurement implemented within the U.S. General Social Survey (GSS). Among these are global items that obtain direct reports about network properties (e.g. size, composition), short sets (aggregated relational data, position generators) that allow estimation of certain network properties, and longer name generator instruments that obtain more granular data on the individual contacts (“alters”) and relationships within a respondent’s egocentric network. The review gives particular attention to the “important matters” name generator for measuring “core” networks, first administered in the 1985 GSS. It covers that instrument’s origins and subsequent use in both substantive and methodological research. Substantive studies show how networks vary by (e.g.) age, socioeconomic standing, gender and residential setting, and offer suggestive evidence about how they shape outcomes including well-being, political activity, and sociopolitical attitudes. Methodological studies reveal that the important matters name generator can be sensitive to several aspects of survey settings, and call for care in its administration.
From the photoinduced transport of energy that accompanies photosynthesis to the transcontinental transmission of optical data that enable the Internet, our world relies and thrives on optical signals. To highlight the importance of optics to society, the United Nations designated 2015 as “The International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies.” Although conventional optical technologies are limited by diffraction, plasmons—collective oscillations of free electrons in a conductor—allow optical signals to be tailored with nanoscale precision. Following decades of fundamental research, several plasmonic technologies have now emerged on the market, and numerous industrial breakthroughs are imminent. This article highlights recent industrially relevant advances in plasmonics, including plasmonic materials and devices for energy; for medical sensing, imaging, and therapeutics; and for information technology. Some of the most exciting industrial applications include solar-driven water purifiers, cell phone Raman spectrometers, high-density holographic displays, photothermal cancer therapeutics, and nanophotonic integrated circuits. We describe the fundamental scientific concepts behind these and related technologies, as well as the successes and challenges associated with technology transfer.