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.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

#FacesofPhotonics: Optimax Director of Technology and Strategy, Jessica DeGroote Nelson

SPIE Senior Member Jessica DeGroote Nelson works as the director of technology and strategy at Optimax Systems in Ontario, New York. She also teaches as an adjunct assistant professor at The Institute of Optics at the University of Rochester (UR), and is a Conference Chair for SPIE Optifab 2019. 
Nelson also teaches Optical Materials, Fabrication, and Testing for the Optical Engineer at SPIE conferences. This course is geared toward optical engineers who are hoping to learn the basics about how optics are made, and ways in which to help reduce the cost of the optics they are designing. It is also offered online.
"Optical tolerancing and the cost to fabricate an optic can be a point of tension or confusion between optical designers and optical fabricators," Nelson says. "I teach this course to help give optical designers who are new to the field a few tools in their toolbelt as they navigate tolerancing and purchasing some of their first designs. One of the things I lov…

#FacesofPhotonics: Applied Optics Master's Student Christiane Ebongue

Bonjour! Meet Christiane Ebongue, graduate student at Delaware State University (DSU). Christiane is working on a master's degree in applied optics with a goal of achieving a PhD in Physics. When she is not spending time in the lab —something she says she loves so much, she would even want to be there on her birthday! — she enjoys her role as president of her university's SPIE Student Chapter.

Ebongue moved to the United States from Cameroon for college, although she only spoke French at the time. Learning to speak a new language while learning a new field of science was intimidating, she says, but this feat just speaks to how tenacious of a person Ebongue is.

Another example of this steadfast dedication and passion lies in her photonics advocacy work. After defending her thesis in the morning, Ebongue hopped in her car and drove from Delaware to Washington D.C., to participate in Congressional Visits Day, without missing a beat!

"It was awesome, I don't regret it at …

Taking a Deep Dive into the World of Biophotonics

SPIE Student Member Gavrielle Untracht is pursuing her PhD at The University of Western Australia. She had the chance to participate in the 9th International Graduate Summer School in Biophotonics this past June on the island of Ven between Sweden and Denmark.

At the school, sponsored by SPIE, invited experts from around the globe gave extended presentations on topics like tissue optics, strategies for cancer treatment using lasers, and entrepreneurship in photonics. Attendees also had the opportunity to present their current research projects, results, or ideas. Gavrielle shares her experiences of the summer school with this community in the following guest blog post.


I recently returned from a week of great discussions and beautiful weather at the 9th Biophotonics Summer School on the Isle of Ven, Sweden. This experience, made possible (in part) by SPIE, was an invaluable opportunity for networking and a deep dive into the world of biophotonics that I would highly recommend to any…