Light and Shadow

The UCD OSA Student Chapter May 2015
The UCD OSA Student Chapter May 2015

The UCD OSA Student Chapter participated in the UCD Science open day, Light and Shadow in celebration of the International Year of Light and the light based research within University College Dublin Saturday 23rd May 2015. There were over 500 attendees on the day.

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The event was opened with a keynote speaker, Evelyn Cusack, the Deputy Head of Forecasting in Met Éireann on the connection with spectroscopy and the weather. Following the keynote there were 11 shorts talks (full video playlist).

The UCD OSA Student Chapter along with their advisor Prof. John T. Sheridan commanded 9 tables during Light and Shadow, 4 tables for the KHET tournament and 5 on optics outreach “Fun with Light”. The KHET tournament was extremely popular especially amongst the younger players. KHET is a combination of a strategy based board game with lasers and Egyptian themed pieces, which has been described as “laser chess”! Unlike chess however, KHET is easy to pick up as there are fewer rules, and once mastered, the difficulty setting can be increased. Two players take turns to fire their laser to strike and remove game pieces from the board. Most of the pieces are mirrored on one or more sides, allowing players to alter the path of the laser beam each time it is fired by changing the position of the playing pieces. When a piece is struck by a laser on a non – mirrored side, it is eliminated from the game. The object is to hit your opponent’s pharaoh with a laser while protecting your own king, thereby claiming victory. KHET encourages the player to think about the path the light will follow before committing to a move. Many parents enquired about purchasing the game so that the tournament could continue at home.

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The outreach optics tables had a mixture of optical equipment from lasers, LEDs, diffraction gratings, optical fibres and spectroscopes, to optical illusions such as a Mirrorscope, Euler’s Disk, Centripetal Spinners and a Strobotop. There were also hands on making with UV colour changing bracelets, LED badges, conductive painted circuits and make your own spectrascopes.

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The Student Chapter felt that it was important that the visitors could come and get involved by making something to take away. The tables were assembled in a form of the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum with ultraviolet (UV) on one side, visible in the middle and infra-red (IR) on the far side. This made it easier to explain the EM spectrum and the different types of light. For UV light, the Student Chapter used a black light, UV beads, UV makeup and paint to demonstrate the properties of UV light, particularly with using sunscreen on the UV beads under the black light. For the visible light range, the Student Chapter used a colour wheel, different light sources, diffraction glasses and glowsticks to ask the public what colours are missing from the rainbow. This helped explain why the colour pink does not have a wavelength and the properties of white light. For IR, the Student Chapter asked the public to hold the camera of their mobile phones over an IR light to illustrate that even though they cannot see IR light, it is present and shows up on (most) cameras.

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The UCD OSA Student Chapter also provided a number takeaway materials that we handed to science communicators and educators for their own IYL activities such as; templates for creating your own spectroscope, diffraction gratings (500 & 1000 lines/mm), polarisers, liquid crystals sheets and the very popular diffraction glasses.

Our Advisor, Prof. John T. Sheridan gave a talk on “Theraputic Light” and also helped out on the optics outreach stand for the remainder of the day. Volunteers: Ms. Laura Tobin, Ms. Liang, Zhao, Mr. Ra’ed Malallah, Mr. Changliang Guo, Mr. Haoyu Li, Mr. Inbarasan Muniraj, , Ms. Victoria Bunny (ISEN Lille), Mr. Sudharsan Rajasekaran (UCD) and Mr. Nithish Deepankar.

§  Light sources for electronics Padraig Dunne
§  Imaging Molecules with light James Rice
§  Harvesting Solar Energy Dominic Zerulla
§  Listening to See in Dark: a Bat’s perspective Emma Teeling
§  Light for Eye Diagnostics Brian Vohnsen
§  Light, Vision and Health Paul Kenny
§  Sunlight, Excited Molecules and DNA Damage:
An Incredibly Fast Process
Susan Quinn
§  Using Vision to find new Drugs for Blindness Breandán Kennedy
§  Light from the Edge of Time Lorraine Hanlon
§  Therapeutic Light John Sheridan
§  The Dark Net Mark Scanlon

In addition there were also displays, exhibits and tours;

§  Cellular Light Show Biology & Environmental Science – Dr Mariana G. Bexiga, Dr Carl Ng, Prof Jeremy C. Simpson
§  Uncover Molecular Structures with Infrared Light Chemistry and Chemical Biology – Dr Paul Evans
§  The Colour Box Physics – Prof Padraig Dunne
§  From Rays to Waves in Light & Colour Physics – Dr Brian Vohnsen
§  Light & the Planet’s most important Organisms – Plants UCD Program for Experimental Atmospheres and Climates (PEAC)
§  The Chemistry of Light UCD Chemical Society, a UCD student society
§  Light, colour & flavour –
a multisensory experience
Institute of Food & Health – Dr Emma Feeney
§  Light & Nature’s Life Cycle Engineering – Prof John Sheridan; Agriculture & Food Science – Dr Barbara Murphy
§  Fun with light workshop Laura Tobin – UCD OSA Student Chapter
§  KHET Tournament Laura Tobin – UCD OSA Student Chapter
§  Exploration Dome Supported by UCD Research Public Engagement & Outreach, and partners
§  Tunnelling Art & Science Exhibition Organised and curated by UCD – Lorraine Hanlon & UCD/NCAD – Emer O’Boyle; collaborative exhibition by students of Fine Art NCAD and UCD Science
§  Explore the UCD O’Brien Centre for Science Sponsored by UCD Science, guided by student ambassadors
Liang Zhao making LED badges and UV bracelets