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2019 Cycle 2 Education Outreach Grant Recipients

SPIE awards over $80,000 annually to organizations with optics and photonics related education outreach projects. In the second round of the SPIE Education Outreach Grants for 2019, SPIE has named 13 winners. Recipients of the first round were announced earlier this year.

First Round Winners  ›

Meet the 2019 Cycle 2 Winners

- Desert Research Institute (USA) - for "Cosmic Lens STEM Kit." Each Cosmic Lens STEM Kit includes activities that increase optics and photonics awareness by guide participants to explore the electromagnetic spectrum. During Visible Light, students record the electromagnetic “fingerprint” of two different light sources using a handheld spectroscope. This activity allows participants to examine wavelengths and frequencies to understand how scientists use the electromagnetic spectrum to study and research astronomical objects. At the Beyond Visible Light station, participants will observe the effects of different electromagnetic wavelengths (light sources) on UV sensitive beads and extrapolate how wavelength impact humans. Together, these activities expose students to real-world applications of optics and photonics.

- Foundation for Astronomical Studies and Exploration (Sri Lanka) - for "Astronomical Workshop Series 2019-2020." Introducing the Sri Lankan student community to the world of astronomy, optics, and photonics through a series of monthly public programs from August 2019 through August 2020 including provincial workshops, public forums, and quiz competitions.

- Indian River State College (USA)- for "Developing Photonics Outreach Model in a Developing Country." The aim of this project is to expand the outreach and raise awareness about the field of photonics and its applications in the geographical area of Southeastern Europe, and in particular, in the Western Balkans. This project is intended to target younger audience, mostly high school and college students in Bosnia-Herzegovina, with the goal of expanding their knowledge of light-enabled technologies to the point of their self-sufficiency for further research and development.

- National Space Science & Technology Institute (USA) - for "The Power of Spectroscopy." As part of their Mobile Earth + Space Observatory mission to bring STEM instruction to underserved students throughout Colorado, students will work with a variety of spectrometers and a ripple tank to explore the concepts of light and optics. Through hands-on interaction they will discover how light waves exhibit the property of superposition and how these waves are manipulated to form a spectrum through the processes of refraction and diffraction. Students will further explore how powerful spectroscopy is in studying the world around us. The MESO team has a strong track record of building museum-grade interactives.

- Samara University (Russian Federation) - for "Low-cost laboratory bench with 3D printed optical mounts for laser technology study." The purpose is hardware and methodology development for a laboratory workshop conducting devoted to the fundamentals of laser physics and laser technology in high school and university for the popularization of optics and photonics. The task is the creation of a hardware complex (laboratory bench) and methods for the characteristics study of the semiconductor injection laser (laser diode) and the study of diode-pumped solid-state lasers on ionic crystals, including generation aspects, frequency doubling with a nonlinear crystal. The course hallmarks are low cost and availability of all system components (lasers, optical elements, and accessories)and the usage of additive technologies (3D printing).

- The Science and Math Investigative Learning Experience (USA)- for "SMILE Program." Students will engage in two activities: Activity 1: Students will learn how to calculate the index of refraction of liquid samples with known sugar content. They will learn how to use a prism, laser, and protractor along with Snell’s Law to perform this calculation.They will stretch their computational thinking skills to determine the sugar content of an unknown liquid. Additional skills include: measurement, data collection, graphing, and data analysis. Activity 2: Students will determine the width of their hair using laser light. This is a simple activity to demonstrate diffraction and learn how the phenomenon can be used to measure something very small.

- University of California Santa Barbara  (USA) - for "Sound into Light." The UC Santa Barbara Photonics Society aims to conduct interactive outreach using a hands-on activity that uses an optical link to transmit and play an audio signal. We are partnering with the Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation (MOXI), a local science museum that emphasizes experimentation and creativity in science. By partnering with MOXI, we can reach a local, national, and international guest population, with wide age ranges and family units. With our interactive activity, we intend not only to emphasize concepts in optics, but also the process of scientific inquiry itself.

- Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II (Italy) - for "Science Wars." Science Wars is an event to make people aware of optics and photonics in our daily life through several experiments. It will be in an ex-juvenile detention center in the city center, so different kinds of people are expected. Thanks to the theatre in the structure, several talks will take place. There will be a Planetarium and a Hologram Room, too. During the event, there will be a treasure hunt where people will find the occurrent to make tinkering activities, such as the making of a spectrometer. We want to collaborate with other organizations, such as INFN, CNR-SPIN and CNR-ISASI.

- Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon (Mexico)- for "Optics for Everyone." This is program teaching science in schools and public areas for kids, teachers and the public that will include volunteer instructor training during semesters August - December 2019 and January - June 2020. Then instructors will visit around eight schools and/or science events in towns and cities out the Metropolitan area of Monterrey conducting public events in the months of September, November 2019 and March and May 2020. Finally, the last part of the project is to introduce new STEAM activities for teaching optics, we are planning to define and design these activities from July to September 2019.

- University of Auckland (New Zealand) - for "The Great Northland Science Roadshow 2.0." The science roadshow will provide science fairs, magic shows and workshops for students in Northland. This region in New Zealand is in greater need of science outreach than others due to geographical and economic factors like low income, less access to scientific institutes, museums, etc. The aim of the roadshow is to bring communities together, in their own spaces, to experience the joys of scientific outreach, and to inspire curiosity for science in young minds of Aotearoa, particularly in the area of optics and photonics.

- University of Oulu (Finland) - for "Fascination of Light for People in Arctic." The outreach activities mainly include visits to local schools in Oulu, organizing the celebration of the International Day of Light, participating in Researchers' Night and Open Door Days at the University of Oulu, visits to local optics and photonics companies (TimeGate, Rikola/Senop, Polar, etc.), and organizing interactive photonics promotional events in public places (e.g. big local shopping mall Valkea). These activities are interrelated and mutually reinforced, and intend to strengthen the relationship and the connection between scientific research, commercial companies, and the public especially the young generation, in the field of optics and photonics.

- Vellore Institute of Technology (India) - for "Delving into Optics." This program will be a 3-day long Optics Awareness Camp and will consist of workshops on Projects related to optics, star gazing, a laser light session, an industrial visit to a camera and lighthouse museum, and a session on the role of Women in Optics. SPIE Student Chapter, VIT Chennai will reach out to Colleges/Schools throughout Chennai to conduct seminars on Optics. During the seminar, students will be selected for the camp based on their approach towards the subject.

- Young Harris College (USA) - for "Light (Pollution) in the Mountains." Using materials from the International Dark-Sky Association to organize a week-long exhibition and activity sessions creating awareness about light pollution. In addition to the exhibition area, various student activities would engage different age groups:
Grades K-8:
   1. Use the Tech Light Lab Optics Kit Classroom Pack to engage young minds in optics activities.
   2. Make little kids aware of some of the hazards of light pollution.
Grades 7-12:
   1. Use “Turn on the Night Classroom kit” to engage middle and high school students in activities related to light pollution.
College Students:
   1. Conduct an energy audit of the campus.