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 Ultra-compact phase modulators based on graphene plasmons
27.06.2017 | ICFO-The Institute of Photonic Sciences

nachricht Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold
26.06.2017 | Toyohashi University of Technology

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: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Touch Displays WAY-AX and WAY-DX by WayCon

27.06.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Drones that drive

27.06.2017 | Information Technology

Ultra-compact phase modulators based on graphene plasmons

27.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>