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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

Hands-on demonstrations and teaching tools for optics and adaptive optics
Author(s): Douglas N. Arion; Kevin M. Crosby; Daniel Lyons; Kendra Rand; Ann Randolph

Paper Abstract

A set of demonstrations suitable for use in classrooms at the secondary, undergraduate and graduate level, and for public use in museums and science centers were developed to exhibit basic optics principles, vision science, and adaptive optics techniques. This paper will exhibit these demonstrations, and how they can be used to promote understanding of optics principles in a wide range of applicable areas. Demonstrations include units showing image formation, orientation, and scale; a unit showing 3-dimensional ray tracing through optical systems using a scattering medium and laser diodes; a unit allowing users to directly observe the color sensitivity of their eyes; and a demonstration directly demonstrating wavefront errors, image distortion, and a Shack-Hartmann sensor for wavefront measurement. Together, these bring real-world optical principles into the hands-on regime, and demystify optics principles that are difficult to visualize in three dimensions. These demonstrations are currently in use at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii, at Nauticus in Virginia, at the Yerkes Observatory and at Carthage College in Wisconsin, as well as at several middle and high schools in Illinois and Wisconsin. They have also been integrated into a unit in the Hands on Universe program published by the Lawrence Hall of Science. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation through the Center for Adaptive Optics.

Paper Details

Date Published: 6 October 2003
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 9663, Eighth International Topical Meeting on Education and Training in Optics and Photonics, 96631W (6 October 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.2207508
Show Author Affiliations
Douglas N. Arion, Carthage College (United States)
Kevin M. Crosby, Carthage College (United States)
Daniel Lyons, Carthage College (United States)
Kendra Rand, Carthage College (United States)
Ann Randolph, Carthage College (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9663:
Eighth International Topical Meeting on Education and Training in Optics and Photonics
Barry L. Shoop; Grover Swartzlander, Editor(s)

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