International Day of Light (16 May) - Educational Offers

One specific contribution from Switzerland to the International Day of Light is the Stellarium Gornergrat, a remote controlled observatory for educational and amateur/citizen science purposes; on the right, an image of the galaxies M81/M82 taken with the 60 cm deep sky telescope of the Stellarium.


0. Background

The International Day of Light (IDL) is a global initiative, supported by UNESCO, that provides an annual focal point for the continued appreciation of light and the role it plays in science, culture and art, education, and sustainable development, and in fields as diverse as medicine, communications, and energy (UNESCO/IDL, The event is held on May 16 every year on occasion of the anniversary of the first successful operation of the laser in 1960 by the physicist and engineer Theodore Maiman. The laser is an excellent example of how a scientific discovery can yield revolutionary benefits to society in communications, healthcare and many other fields. A range of selected offers (such as hands-on experiments, out-of-school educational offers, historical aspects) is available on this SPS website. There is material in English, French and German (with short introductions mostly in the language of the offer), much of the material is available online.


1. Optics Related Demo and Hands-On Experiments, Observations and Applications

1.1 Physics of Everyday Phenomena and other Fascinating Applications

Several articles in the SPG Mitteilungen deal with highly interesting applications of light and optics, partially of high importance for society, from more technical (glass fibres, liquid crystal displays, LEDs, etc.) to biomedical aspects (non-visual light effects in humans), see section 3.1. The following projects are very interesting examples of "state-of-the-art" research in this area with a link to biophysics or geophysics:

Furthermore some fun and home experiments as "appetizers" for optics:

Below you will find further examples and activities of this kind, e.g. with laser pointers or smartphones as experimental means.

1.2 Experiments with Lasers and Laserpointers

The following collections (most of them open access) provide a broad range of demo, hands-on and at-home laser experiments for teaching and learning.

1.3 Optics Experiments with Smartphones

1.4 Resources by MUSE - More Understanding by Simple Experiments. An initiative of the European Physical Society

MUSE is a initiative of the European Physical Society providing deepened insight into physical key phenomena by a unique collection of experimental learning activities with simple means, feasible at schools, and sometimes even at home.

Below, MUSE activities and articles related to optics are highlighted.

1.4.1 MUSE – International Year of Light 2015
1.4.2 MUSE – Papers
1.4.3 MUSE – Workshops

1.5 Stellarium Gornergrat – A Remote Controlled Astronomy Observatory for Pupils, Teachers, and Citizen Scientists



2. Science Outreach Labs and Facilities with Optics Related Experiments in Switzerland

2.1 MobiLLab, St. Gallen

The MobiLLab is a mobile high-tech lab with twelve workspaces, which can be booked by schools for one-day visits on the school campus. Its goal is to promote the interest of the youth in natural sciences and technics. Using modern instruments and methods they can examine problems found in every-day life as well as practical applications.
Many of the high-tech devices use optical measuring methods. A selection of videos is listed below:

Links to all mobiLLab-videos

2.2 Other Offers



3. Optics related Articles in the SPG Mitteilungen

Related to light and optics, the SPG Mitteilungen provide a wealth of contributions about highly interesting applications (including special microscopes, telescopes, lighting, etc), fundamental questions (including our scientific "world view", e. g. in astronomy), or historical aspects.
(Note that the grouping of the following contributions under a given subtitle is not always unique).

3.1 Applications

3.2 Fundamental Questions, "Weltbild" (including Astronomy)

3.3 History of Physics