Ten more organizations that work to increase awareness about the benefits of optics and photonics in daily life have received SPIE Education Outreach Grants for 2013, and three other organizations were selected to receive an optics education outreach donation from SPIE.
In the second round of annual grant funding, an SPIE committee selected groups from 10 educational organizations in eight countries to share in $90,000 in funding for teacher training, hands-on telescope making, and other optics- and photonics-related activities.
A total of 35 organizations have received SPIE funding through the optics education outreach program this year.
Combined with educational and travel scholarships and numerous other programs, SPIE provides more than $3.2 million in support of optics and photonics education and outreach programs each year.
The award process for the education outreach grants is competitive; applications are judged on their potential to impact students and increase optics awareness. The next round of grant applications are due 31 January 2014.
Recipients in the second round of grant funding are:
- Brussels Photonics Team, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium), for teacher training
- Estes Park School District R-3 (USA) to design and build optics telescopes
- ETH Zurich SPIE Student Chapter (Switzerland) for the Scientifica optics outreach program
- Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (India) for materials to build an optics kit for K-12 outreach activities
- Jeux Photoniques, Université Laval (Canada), to improve the Photonics Games program
- Tehachapi High School (USA) for the school’s Robotics Club science exposition
- Three Rivers Community College (USA) for the Optics Math workshops and to improve Math and Science Day
- Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León (Mexico) to assist with the Optics 4 Kids outreach event
- Universidade de São Paulo (Brazil) for education outreach
- University of West Bohemia (Czech Republic) to organize teacher training
$10,000 SPIE donation for self-adjustable glasses
In a separate effort to enhance awareness of the role optics plays in daily life, SPIE asked members this year to vote on an optics education outreach project to which SPIE would donate $10,000.
Voters picked Child ViSion, whose “instant prescription eyewear” allows users to correct their own refraction error with adaptive optics technologies.
Child ViSion is an initiative of the Centre for Vision in the Developing World (UK) and Dow Corning to bring "instant prescription eyewear" to millions of people in the developing world who have no access to vision correction services.
At SPIE Photonics West in February, Joshua Silver, the organization's CEO, discussed several adaptive optics technologies that allow people to adjust their eyeglasses to correct their own refractive error.
Using electrowetting, electroactive, and fluid-filled lens technology in inexpensive eyeglass frames (modeled by SPIE Executive Director Eugene Arthurs, above), people can turn a dial on the eyepiece to correct their refractive error.
Adjustable glasses can be used with all refraction techniques, including the process of self-refraction, which is especially useful for populations where there are too few eyecare professionals to meet the needs of the people.
Runners up in the SPIE voting, the Active Learning in Optics and Photonics (ALOP) program and the Laser Roadshow, will each receive $2,500 in SPIE funding.