Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Travelling exhibition lights up interest in science

11.11.2008
Do you know that light consists of waves as well as particles called photons? Or that red light carries less energy than blue light? Thousands of European schoolchildren now do, thanks to a travelling exhibition that is spreading the word about one of the most captivating fields of physics: photonics.

Organised by a group of European optics, photonics and laser researchers, the Fascination of Light exhibitions have so far been held in ten European cities, with the 11th and final event kicking off in Barcelona in November. By then, more than 30,000 schoolchildren, hundreds of school teachers and countless members of the public will have gained a better understanding of light, from its essential role in supporting life on Earth to its uses in communications, engineering and healthcare.

“Our goal is to explain photonics and how it applies to everyday life through exhibits that make complex subjects and technologies understandable to the average person or student,” explains Daniela Stozno of Germany’s Max Born Institute, which coordinated the initiative.

The EU-funded Fascination of Light project promotes a hands-on approach to teaching science, encouraging visitors to the exhibitions to participate in experiments and games that teach them about light in a fun and interesting way.

Schoolchildren, for example, are offered the chance to play with different sized lenses to see how light can be concentrated, or with mirrors to see how it can be distorted. Lasers and their myriad uses – from creating fancy light displays at rock concerts to performing surgery – are also shown and explained.

Stozno says that the reaction from visitors has generally been “Wow!”

“The only complaint was that the exhibitions did not go on for long enough. Most lasted around two weeks and focused on providing guided tours to school groups, although in some places members of the public were allowed to visit during the afternoons and weekends,” Stozno explains.

The exhibitions proved very popular in all cities where they have been held so far – Berlin, Athens, Brussels, Bordeaux, Paris, Thessaloniki, Amsterdam, Prague, Warsaw and Dublin.

“In Prague, people were queuing up to get in,” says Stozno.

Next-generation photonics researchers?

Held at research institutes and universities, the exhibitions offer a chance for schools and the public to get a feel for science that they may be unable to obtain elsewhere. “Some of the cities lack science museums or the exhibits they have are not very interactive,” Stozno notes.

Perhaps most importantly, the Fascination of Light events are an opportunity to introduce teachers to the benefits of a hands-on approach to science teaching that will all but certainly increase student interest in the subject. That in turn should lead to more schoolchildren going on to study science at university, providing Europe with a much-needed boost in its competitiveness in research and development.

The Fascination of Light project, which received funding under the EU’s Sixth Framework Programme for research, is an expansion of a similar science-promotion initiative launched by the German Ministry of Education.

“The number of students studying photonics in university at present is too small and this results in a lack of personnel (in research departments),” Stozno notes.

Though the Fascination of Light team are due to hold their last exhibition at Barcelona’s Photonic Sciences Institute (ICFO) between 12 November and 3 December, they are planning to seek funding for a follow-up initiative that would allow them to organise longer exhibitions in other cities.

To promote teaching about photonics in schools, the project team is also distributing a teachers’ kit that includes a DVD of possible topics and suggestions for simple, easy to perform experiments involving everyday objects, such as mirrors, candles and pencils. For the meantime therefore, the project’s work will continue in classrooms across Europe, proving to students that light – and science – can indeed be fascinating.

Christian Nielsen | alfa
Further information:
http://cordis.europa.eu/ictresults
http://cordis.europa.eu/ictresults/index.cfm/section/news/tpl/article/BrowsingType/Features/ID/90123

Further reports about: Energy Fascination LIGHT Light exhibitions blue light photons waves

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions
27.04.2017 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory

nachricht SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history
26.04.2017 | Southwest Research Institute

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How Plants Form Their Sugar Transport Routes

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

Protein 'spy' gains new abilities

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

Researchers unravel the social network of immune cells

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>