On Friday, October 16, 1987, the Dow Jones industrial average fell a record 108 points for a single day. Only three days later, on "Black Monday," the Dow fell an incredible 508 points, followed by yet another huge loss of 157 points just one week later, on Monday, October 26, 1987. What was going on? The event that was alleged to have triggered all of this downside activity was "the report of a larger-than-expected trade deficit." However, certain usually reliable but unnamed sources suggested that there may have been a connection between these record-setting plunges and the optics community; after all, they occurred on the Friday prior to, during the week of, and on the Monday following the annual meeting of the Optical Society of America. This suggestion was summarily dismissed, because there simply couldn't be any way for a meeting of a few thousand optical scientists and engineers to influence the stock market. Impossible! Ridiculous! No way!