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Optics for Kids

 
Optics for Kids and Teens

Once a year, we present an optics demonstration to introduce children to light and optics. In addition to the outreach program for Kids, we also host a day at the Institute of Optics for high school Teens, who are taking Advanced Placement Physics.

The 2009 outreach effort was a collaboration between Professor Lukas Novotny and several instructors from ICFO (Barcelona). The group went to Escaan International School in Sitges, Spain. 42 kids, grades 6 and 7, participated in a day filled with lots of fun, demonstrations and experiments. After watching an introduction movie, students were divided in groups of three and rotated through several stations. Here are a few highlights of the day:

  • Fiber Optics Communication Kit
  • Guiding Light in Water
  • Fibers for Decoration
  • Liquid Crystals
  • Plasma Ball
  • Radiometer
  • Solar Cell
  • Gold Nanoparticles
  • 3 D-Images
  • Kaleidoscope
  • Diffraction Gratings
  • Calcite Crystals and Polarizers

Check out the following pictures to see for yourself
HOW MUCH FUN CAN SCIENCE BE?




Still not convinced that Optics can be fun for kids? Click here for proof, that the kids had fun!
The instructors seemed to have enjoyed their day as well!



Here are some photos from last year's event.

There were three experiments performed:

1) Making rainbows from white light with a prism

  • This shows that white light is a combination of many colors
  • White light can be separated into these different colors with a prism, and then the colors can be recombined to make white light again using a second prism
  • Using a laser, we showed that a single color stays the same color after pasing through a prism
  • The prism separates the colors because within the crystal, each color travels at a different speed (blue is fast, red is slow, relatively speaking)

2) Absorbing one color out of a white beam with a dye solution (absorption spectroscopy)

  • Things have a certain color because they remove it from the spectrum

3) Lenses and Microscopes

  • A lens can generate an image of a distant object
  • A microscope produces a magnified image of an object
  • Image formation can be understood by thinking of light as rays that are refracted (bent) by the lens in a special way

A good internet resource can be found at http://www.opticalres.com/kidoptx.html

 

3rd Open House for Fairport Highschool Students

In January 2009 we once again were hosting the AP physics class from a local high school. Fairport highschool students had the opportunity to visit labs, carry out laboratory experiments on diffraction and interferometry, and as a special highlight this year, were able to listen to Prof. Dr. Emil Wolf, who entertained the class with stories about how he met Albert Einstein or the making of one of the most referred-to science books "Principles of Optics", which he coauthored with Nobel Laureate Max Born.

 

 

2nd Open House for Fairport Highschool Students

In December 2007 we once again were hosting the AP physics class of a local high school. Fairport highschool students had the opportunity to visit labs, carry out laboratory experiments on diffraction and interferometry, and were able to sit in the final class of the OPT463 course on Nano-Optics, taught by Prof. Lukas Novotny. During this class, Optics PhD students were presenting their final researcg projects related nano-optics.

 

1st Open House for Fairport Highschool Students

In December 2005 we hosted the AP physics class from a local high school. Fairport highschool students had the opportunity to visit labs, carry out laboratory experiments on diffraction and interferometry, and to attend presentations given by Optics PhD students attending the OPT463 course on Nano-Optics.

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