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LaserFest 2010: Celebration of Laser's 50th Anniversary

Did you know there are at least 10 ways you use a laser before lunch? Did you know laser beams are invisible when traveling through air, so for a thief to try to get around them would be impossible?

Did you know laser diagnostics allows archaeologists to identify intact dinosaur proteins? These and other fascinating facts for children ages 8 to 13 can now be found at LaserFest's online resource center,

The organizers of LaserFest, a year-long celebration in 2010 of the 50th anniversary of the first working laser, have rolled out their educational resources specially designed to attract interest among youngsters. Through its collaboration in LaserFest, the scientific community endeavors to inform students about the immense influence the laser has had and continues to have on everyday life by focusing on today's innovations and tomorrow's possibilities. Educational materials highlight the numerous contributions and advances made possible by or with the use of lasers, along with significant applications under scientific investigation.

"LaserFest's educational resources emphasize the countless benefits of the laser to society, notably its impact on science, medicine, communications, industrial technology and space, among others," said Elizabeth Rogan, CEO of the Optical Society (OSA), one of the four founding partners of LaserFest. "To salute the 50th anniversary milestone, LaserFest has partnered with more than 56 organizations, including the Smithsonian Institution, the Exploratorium in San Francisco, dozens of scientific societies, and college student groups worldwide, to celebrate and educate youth about the importance of laser science and physics."

At the LaserFest website, parents and their school-aged children will find fun tools and downloadable information about how the laser came to be and the early growth of this ubiquitous device. Hands-on activities and useful materials, including science kits, posters, comic books, and videos invite exploration of how lasers work and how they transform the way we live. Also posted online are profiles of today's laser pioneers. LaserFest content is written to appeal both to general readers and science enthusiasts, young and old. With these resources, the LaserFest anniversary celebration and awareness campaign will reach thousands of youngsters and adults.

Following is a list of sample resources to excite kids about laser science and technology:

  • Videos
    • Lasers: Transforming Life - learn about how lasers play a role in everyday technologies, such as the Internet and laser surgery, and how laser research may lead to future clean energy sources or help understand such mysteries as black holes.
    • Laser Graffiti Video Contest - Student chapters from around the world have submitted their entries - now you can "view to vote" for your favorite Laser Graffiti Video on YouTube.
    • LaserFest Video Contest - Enter to win $1,000 - Take any laser you want and use it to somehow express a physics concept. Entry deadline is May 16th - sound familiar?
  • Posters & Toys -- Decorate the "lab" in the basement or a young astronaut's bedroom with dazzling laser posters and plush photons in your choice of red, green or blue, corresponding to a different wavelength of light.
  • Cool comic books about Spectra, the original laser super hero and her battle against Miss Alignment - great reading for summer.
  • SpectraSound Kit - a stimulating experiment to transmit your music across the dance floor using laser light... perfect for the home, classroom, lab and parties!
  • Bright Idea: The First Lasers - a virtual museum exhibit for a rainy afternoon.


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