The Applied Optics Group and the OSA student chapter of the University of Kent organised a small event for the international celebrated “Day of Photonics” on the 21st of October. The Day of Photonics celebrates the adoption of the current speed of light at the General Conference of Weights And Measures on the 21st of October 1983.
The Applied Optics and OSA student chapter organised a small booth in one of the universities science buildings, presenting various optical instruments and phenomena. They also offered guided lab tours to the photonics labs and gave an insight to the research carried out at the Applied Optics Grouop of the University of Kent.
We had the chance to meet with many interested students and give them an introduction to our research and gave them the opportunity to ask questions concerning optics and our research.
At the beginning of October 2015 two postgraduate students from the University of Kent OSA Student Chapter (Yong Hu & Mike Everson) embarked on a weeklong trip to Besançon, France to give a collection of talks to school students.
The trip, organised by Carole Hémard from the British Council, was an effort to introduce young pupils (14-20yrs) to the potential eventuality of working with foreign speaking collaborators as well as taking a break from their usual routine by giving them the chance to meet with professionals and have some fun with science.
The researchers visited a number of schools in the surrounding areas including Montbéliard, Belfort and Morez where they discovered that regular adjustments to their talks were necessary to suit the abilities of the pupils as well as the varying time frames available at different venues.
The talks focused on the properties of light and its applications in fibre optics, with the use of an interactive demonstration, and spectroscopy, where the pupils made their own spectroscope in a workshop and used them to deduce the elements in four different atomic emission gas tubes. The introduction also gave the pupils some background details about the speakers and how they came to be university postgraduate students, the idea being to show that they can elevate themselves to any position they desire and also to inspire and encourage the pursuit of a career in science.
No trip abroad could possibly take place without a little sight seeing and so the postgraduates were suitably treated to a variety of science museums and expositions, some of which were centred on optics and photonics. Plus they attended the ‘fête de la Science’ in Besançon and met with the director of the International Year of Light (IYL) initiative, Professor John Dudley, as well as many other scientists and professionals in the same subject areas.
Overall the trip was a huge success, justifiable by the large amount of positive feedback returned from the pupils who attended as well as the teachers, inspectors, lab assistants and other onlookers. Now that the right connections have been established with academics through the British Council, the University of Kent’s OSA Student Chapter has the exciting potential to undergo similar outreach activities in the future.
On Saturday, March 14th, several members of the Applied Optics Group and of the OSA student chapter took on the challenge of organising and hosting an outreach event with the support of the School of Physical Sciences at the local city museum, the Beaney House of Art and Knowledge.
The event couldn't have gone forward without the organisation (and recruiting) from our School's outreach officer, Dr Vicky Mason, to whom we are grateful. She also provided an additional interactive module in the form of a thermal imaging camera (which yielded some interesting thermal "selfies" such as the one below).
Finally, our thanks to all of our colleagues who kindly volunteered to be there on a Saturday: Prof Adrian Podoleanu, Dr Adrian Bradu, Dr Sylvain Rivet, Christopher Costa, Catherine Chin, Manuel Marques, Michaël Maria and Radu Stancu.
Last Friday, January 30th the OSA Student Chapter hosted a pizza party social event, which took place at the Photonics Centre meeting room. This was a fantastic way to finish a week's intensive course of seminars including invited talks and lectures integrated in the PH800 module curricula.
We were also visited by our colleagues currently in the first half of their Marie Curie PhDs in Denmark, who will eventually be involved in this Chapter at some point.
This was an excellent opportunity for all of us to meet in a more relaxed environment with a lot of lovely pizza ordered locally. Many thanks to everyone for coming!
One thing we are interested in promoting, as a student chapter, is collaboration with researchers outside the School of Physical Sciences. The University of Kent conducts research in a broad range of imaging techniques not only at our Applied Optics Group, but also at the School of Engineering and Digital Arts and at the School of Computing. To foster interdisciplinary collaboration, a colloquium between these schools was organised to share the current topics being researched and build relations across the constituent groups.
Seven invited talks were scheduled in addition to a keynote presentation by Prof. Adrian Podoleanu, head of the Applied Optics Group. The talks covered a wide range of topics including optical coherence tomography, single pixel cameras, plenoptic imaging, high speed cameras, and image processing on field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and graphical processing units (GPUs).
The event had over 30 in attendance, with a lively Q&A session. This event would not have been possible without the collaborative effort involving the University of Kent student chapters for both the Optical Society of America (OSA) and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
This colloquium was successful in sharing the wide breadth of imaging research going on at Kent and we look forward to many new research endeavours as we work together.
On Tuesday 11th November, members of the OSA Student Chapter at Kent gave lab tours to interested undergraduate Physics students from the University of Kent. Students were shown around the Photonics labs and spoke with researchers (both post-doctorate and PhD) about their work within the Applied Optics Group.
The undergraduates were able to gain perspective into the research environment, particularly in optics but also academia as a whole. The visit was also greatly beneficial to the AOG members as it gave an opportunity to relate their work to a less experienced audience.
The chapter would like to give thanks to all AOG members involved, and of course to the undergraduates who expressed enthusiasm for the event. A final acknowledgement goes to Prof. Podoleanu for publicising these tours in his “Electromagnetism & Optics” lectures.