Friday, August 17, 2007

Lighten Up for Optics Education

Although space and astronomy are the main topics that I have been using for educational outreach, these aren't the only technical fields I find interesting. My education (B.S. physics, M.S. optics from the University of Rochester) and career have actually revolved around optics and optical engineering, and one of the first educational outreach things I did years ago was a web site called Optics for Kids. So I was really pleased to learn of a new free publication (PDF) from Girl Scouts USA and the OSA Foundation called Lighten Up! Discovering the Science of Light. It is an activity-based resource guide for girls 11-15 which also talks about careers and introduces several women who work in different areas of optics, including Dr. Ellen Ochoa, who holds several optics related patents. Dr. Ochoa is also a NASA mission specialist who has flown on four shuttle flights. Lighten Up! is nicely written and designed, and the activities are a bit different from the usual basic optics demonstrations. Recommended!

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