Laser Fun Day this Weekend

    Date Posted: 
    Monday, April 15, 2019

    The University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences will hold its ninth annual Laser Fun Day as The Student Optics Chapter (SOCk), its undergraduate and graduate student organization, brings the science of optics alive for area elementary- and middle-school children. The educational extravaganza takes place on Saturday, April 20th, 2019, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Meinel Building, at 1630 East University Boulevard on the University of Arizona campus. Admission is free and open to the public.

    Exhibits include cow eye dissections, optical illusions, hands on demos and an infrared camera, all of which illustrate different applications and properties of light. The always thrilling Laser Maze will return by popular demand.

    Erin Clark, a 1st year master’s student and SOCk Social Chair, shares about her favorite demonstrations: “It is difficult to choose just one. One of the coolest demos is Schlieren imaging.  With the demo setup, any changes in the index of refraction of the air will be seen on a viewing screen.  For example, heat from a hair dryer will disturb the air and all the ripples from the heat can be seen with your eye!  It sounds like magic, but you’ll just have to see it for yourself!”. If you are still on the fence about going to Laser Fun Day, Kali Gagné, bachelor’s student from the Class of 2020 and SOCk outreach chair shares “Everyone should come to Laser Fun Day because it gives you the opportunity to see what the University of Arizona has to offer. The College of Optical Sciences is what I like to call a hidden gem. Many people know the building as the ‘pretty one made of glass’”.

    Benjamin Cromey, a 4th year Ph.D Candidate who in the past has invested much of his time in outreach with the College of Optical Sciences, shares his perspective and one of the many reasons why SOCk and The College of Optical Sciences hosts this annual event. “Did you know that Tucson is considered Optics Valley, much like [how] the Bay Area is called Silicon Valley? Optics has been a part of Tucson’s story for more than fifty years, and yet so many folks don’t know about what it is that we do here. Laser Fun Day is a chance for the community to learn more about some of the amazing work that goes on inside the College of Optical Sciences. Plus, it is our duty as scientists to make our work accessible to those who fund our research, the average American!

    This Laser Fun Day is made possible through grants from the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE) and The Optical Society (OSA), as well as a generous donation from BAE Systems.

    - Written by Micaehla May, Laser Fun Day Communications Manager