Skip to main content

International Day of Light: SPIE Now Welcoming Micro Grant Applications

On 16 May, the second International Day of Light (IDL) will celebrate the importance of light and light-based technologies to individuals and communities around the world. SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, supports IDL in part by offering Micro Grants towards SPIE Member activities that showcase and share the role that light plays in our lives. We are currently welcoming applications for 2019 IDL Micro Grants, with an application deadline of 15 December.

Last year, SPIE supported activities across the globe, from Cote D’Ivoire, Argentina, the US and India, to Thailand, Italy, the UK, and South Africa. Programs engaged students of all ages, professors, volunteers, and industry professionals, resulting in exciting, impactful events.

The Université Laval SPIE Student Chapter in Quebec City built an interactive, informative, light-phenomena-sharing platform, La Terrasse Optique, in front of the Quebec Parliament, making their venture an educational, scientific, and artistic endeavor as well as a central-city tourist attraction.

In New Zealand, the SPIE Student Chapter at the University of Auckland held a Historic Science Fair, complete with costumed volunteers representing famous scientists as well as engaging technical demonstrations and question and answer sessions with the university’s researchers. Students from the city’s primary schools were invited along with their parents, and hired buses transported regional students to the day-long fair as well.

The Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon in San Nicolás de los Garza, Mexico, held events over two days, including an Optics Outreach Workshop on diffraction and scattering; an informal coffee-and-chat session between a university professor and undergraduate students; a “Dumpster Optics” workshop for elementary and secondary public school teachers covering fun, inexpensive ways to enhance their science classes; and a public, day-long event chock full of workshops (kaleidoscopes; pinholes; polarization; astronomy; 3D art), and optics-focused puppet-plays featuring Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, Carl Sagan, and Ben Franklin.

Participants at the day-long event hosted by the Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon
in San Nicolás de los Garza, Mexico

And Quaid-i-Azam University’s Department of Physics in Islamabad, Pakistan, held a two-day Optics Fair, welcoming about 400 students and more than 50 faculty members from local schools and colleges. Interactive experiments included demonstrating, via candy and LEDs, how light is absorbed and reflected; how to create a hologram pyramid; and a playful, colorful look at how to generate optical illusions.

Participants at the Optics Fair at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad, Pakistan

If you have an optical-illusion-generating-trick up your sleeve; fancy running a series of optical-focused workshops for your local schools and community organizations; have a terrific idea about shining a new light on optical phenomena; or would like to participate in 2019’s International Day of Light in other ways, please visit the SPIE website to find out more about IDL, our Micro Grants, and how to apply.


Popular posts from this blog

#FacesofPhotonics: Rising Researcher Alina Zare

SPIE's #FacesofPhotonics is sharing the story of Alina Zare, Associate Professor at the The Machine Learning and Sensing Lab at the University of Florida. Dr. Zare was recognized as a 2018 Rising Researcher for her work in Electronic Imaging & Signal Processing, at the SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing conference.

This program recognizes early career professionals who conduct outstanding research in the defense, commercial, and scientific sensing, imaging, optics, or related fields. If you want to learn more about the program, the details are here.

Enjoy the interview with Alina!

1. Tell us about when you first became interested in optics and photonics. In my senior year of  undergraduate studies in computer science, I was taking an Image Processing elective.  I really enjoyed the course, and the professor for the class, Dr. Gerhard Ritter, encouraged me to do some undergraduate research.  
So I joined Dr. Paul Gader's research lab as a undergraduate researcher where I he…

#FacesofPhotonics and Women In Optics feature: IBM Researcher Anuja De Silva

Meet the SPIE Faces of Photonics star of the week, SPIE Member Anuja De Silva. Anuja grew up in Sri Lanka and now resides in Albany, New York, where she works as a materials and process researcher in the Semiconductor Technology Research division of IBM. Speaking of her work, she says, "I develop new types of materials and processes that help us to scale the size of computer chips... It's hardware development for next-generation semiconductor devices."

Anuja graduated with her Bachelor's in Chemistry from Mount Holyoke College and went on to get her Master's and PhD in Materials Chemistry from Cornell University. Upon conducting a research project for her undergraduate degree, she found her passion for optics and materials research.

"I have always been interested in math and science," Anuja shares. "The options in Sri Lanka, where I grew up, for a career as a research scientist were limited. My mother encouraged me to apply to college in the Unite…

Lighting Their Way

It's a feast for the science-curious senses: in June, two cohorts of two dozen middle-school girls came together for the free, STEM-focused, four-day-long Physics Wonder Girls Camp sessions organized by Dr. Roberto Ramos, associate professor of physics at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.

The girls studied the properties of light, built telescopes, designed and engineered submersible robots, and learned about scientific professions directly from the experts: nanoscientist and Chair of Bryn Mawr College's Physics Department Dr. Xuemei Cheng; INTEL software engineer Dr. Marisa Bauza-Roman; and several female food scientists from Puratos, a global company working with bakers and chocolatiers to assess the best ways to improve their products, all came and talked about their professions, answering questions and interacting with the campers. Plus, they got to be on TV!

The camp was initially inspired by Dr. Ramos' daughter Kristiana who expressed interest in the s…