This month’s topic is Photonics! What do light, lasers, and fiber optics all have in common? Photonics! Without a doubt, photonics is really cool! From smartphone applications and laser shows to solar power and biomedical advancements, photonics is making our world a better place.

Photonics is the science and technology of generating and controlling light particles called photons, and, in particular, using light to carry information. The IEEE Photonics Society is transforming science into technology. Explore how you can too, through this exciting world of photonics.

  • Learn what photonics is and why it is important. Watch “What is Photonics? video by Innovation Trail and enjoy this fun animated video called the Stolen Cup by Photonics4ALL. 
  • Hear about photonics innovations in Cheryl Schnitzer’s, “We are in a Photonics Revolution Tedx Talk and take a look at the indispensable role of photonics in our lives on Photon Terrace’s applications of light site.
  • Many of our everyday technologies rely on photonics, even our smartphones run on or are created by over 100 different photonics applications. Watch this “A Bright Future with Photonics” video by Sci2 to learn more.

Have fun and learn more about photonics and optics by trying out some hands-on activities.

  • Build a classroom cave using Laser Classroom’s Light is for Seeing activity and explore how light illuminates objects and allows us to see them.
  • How fast does light move? Measure the speed of light with a chocolate bar in this fun activity from Laser Classroom.  
  • Test your Heart Rate with a Photonics app! GoPhoton! Heart Rate is an educational app created by GoPhoton!. This app, using your camera phone, allows you to measure your heart rate by analyzing the changes in absorption of light by the blood as your heart beats.
  • Discover how to transmit music over a laser beam by manipulating mirrors. Check out this Laser Challenge by DiscoverE. 
  • Optical Illusions can use color, light and patterns to create images that can trick to our brains. Anamorphic cylinder art is an optical illusion developed by artists as far back as the 1600’s as a way to hide and code messages in their artwork.Try creating your own version with Instructables, Cylinder Mirror Art
  • Have you watched a movie with 3D glasses? If you have, you will know that 3D glasses make it appear as if images are jumping right off the page. If you haven’t, now is your chance. You can make your own 3D glass with steps provided by Wikihow. Learn how 3D glasses work in this video by Scientific American.
  • Design a lens system, to improve vision with TryEngineering’s lesson an Eye for Optics
  • What exactly is color?  Why is it that one M&M is red and another one is green? Of course, it all has to do with light! Explore all about color in Laser Classrooms activity, Color Absorption and Reflection with M&M’s

 

Be Inspired by hearing how your peers are making a difference in their communities and then try it yourself! 

Have a different idea on how to make a positive difference in your community? Be creative! Then share with the TryEngineering family to inspire others to do the same.

  • Write down at least one thing you learned about photonics.
  • Think about how to inspire others and make a difference in your community through light science.  
  • Have you, a family member, or teacher share your work on Facebook or Twitter using #tryengineeringtuesday. We want to hear from you!  

Note to educators and parents: These activities are for various age levels (primary through secondary school). We try to offer something for everyone. 

Join us, on the third Tuesday of each month, to learn about different engineering and technology disciplines with these 4 easy steps: (1) Explore, (2) Discover, (3) Inspire and (4) Share.

Thank you to the IEEE Photonics Society for making this TryEngineering Tuesday possible!