Jan 6 2015
Clarkson University Assistant Professor of Physics Jan Scrimgeour has helped write the Optical Society's new educational poster series in celebration of the 2015 International Year of Light.
The United Nations has designated 2015 the International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies, with the Optical Society as one of the founding partners. Scrimgeour, a member of the Optical Society's Young Professionals Program, said the poster aims to highlight the importance of optics and provide educational outreach to middle schools across the globe.
Optics is the study of how light behaves and interacts with matter, and the guidebook features simple experiments that young students or their teachers would be able to introduce in the classroom. Scrimgeour said he remembers having fun with optics from an early age, which is why he chose to study this topic.
"Optics is an essential and enabling technology, but it's more than just that," he said. "You can touch and feel and play with it, and this series gives an idea of all the cool things you can do with optics."
Scrimgeour said the series isn't designed to push students into a career in optics, but to instead inform them about how the study of optics is involved in everyday life. He said optics play a crucial role in the development of portable technology such as cameras and smartphones.
"People don't think about it much, but it's the backbone of our communications," he said.
Scrimgeour wrote most of the text for the poster and helped edit and provide resources for the guidebook. He said the poster series, which is available in English, Spanish, French, German and Simplified Chinese, allows the message to reach international audiences.
"It's being translated into many languages and being shipped around the world, which is really very cool," he said.