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  • OSA Optics Program Inspires Students

Photonics.com
Feb 2014
WASHINGTON, Feb. 14, 2014 — The Optical Society (OSA) Foundation is working to inspire a new generation of science lovers through its Optics Suitcase program.

The program, demonstrated for middle school students this week as part of OSA’s annual Winter Leadership event, includes hands-on experiences focused on optics concepts. It is designed to introduce students to the dynamic range of concepts within the study of light.

“Outreach to young students is one of the most significant ways we as optics and photonics professionals can impact and inspire future scientists,” said Michael Morris, chairman of the OSA Foundation. “I encourage my fellow optics colleagues to bring the science of light alive for students in their local areas through this type of outreach.”

The program includes a teaching guide and materials for interactive demonstrations and experiments in topics including polarization, diffraction and selective reflection. The individual experiments are designed for students to take home as a reinforcement of the classroom lessons.

For more information, visit: www.osa.org/en-us/foundation


GLOSSARY
diffraction
As a wavefront of light passes by an opaque edge or through an opening, secondary weaker wavefronts are generated, apparently originating at that edge. These secondary wavefronts will interfere with the primary wavefront as well as with each other to form various diffraction patterns.  
polarization
With respect to light radiation, the restriction of the vibrations of the magnetic or electric field vector to a single plane. In a beam of electromagnetic radiation, the polarization direction is the direction of the electric field vector (with no distinction between positive and negative as the field oscillates back and forth). The polarization vector is always in the plane at right angles to the beam direction. Near some given stationary point in space the polarization direction in the beam...
selective reflection
The reflection in different amounts as a function of wavelength, as a result of absorption and scattering, leading to color effects if occurring in the visible wavelength region.
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