Demos

Below are a few pre-recorded demos of other optics phenomena!

Birefringence

Let’s be honest, light can be annoying!  Sometimes it reflects off of things and gets in our eyes making it hard to see.  Luckily, we can throw on polarizing sunglasses and limit the light going into our eyes.  This happens because light actually wiggles in a particular direction as it travels through space, and the direction it wiggles is called it’s polarization. In this demo we will show how we can use different materials to change the polarization of light to create beautiful rainbow art and show you how you can do the same at home!

Pin Hole Camera

What is a pinhole Camera?  A pinhole Camera is a camera that forms an image using a small hole instead of a lens.  Everything has light coming off of it so by capturing that light we can form an image.  In this demo we will build a pinhole camera and learn how it works!

Materials:
Empty Pringles can
Wax paper
Tape
Aluminum foil
Pushpin
Scissors

3D Glasses

Have you ever been to a 3D movie and wondered how the characters look like they are right in front of you?  In this demo we will learn how these movies work, and also create our own 3D glasses and 3D drawings.

Materials:
Scissors
Tape
Red and blue sharpies
Saran wrap
Paper
Printable (Link below)

Pepper's Pyramid

If you have ever been to a broadway show or amusement park and seen a ghost on stage, chances are, it’s literally all smoke and mirrors.  Pepper’s Ghost (named after John Henry Pepper) is a technique for making a person appear “ghostly” and appear out of nowhere.  In this demo we will use this technology to create our own ghost illusions.

Materials:
Craft Plastic (Available at Walmart, JoAnns, Amazon, etc.)
Scissors
Sharpie
Printed outline (link below)

Total Internal Reflection

Total Internal Reflection (TIR) is when a light encounters two different materials (such as air and water), and at a specific angle, the surface acts as a mirror, and all the light is reflected. Basically, Everything Inside Returns. Join us in learning about TIR!

Materials:
Laser pointer
Empty gallon container
Milk droplets
Clear baking pan
Water drain (sink, bathtub, etc.)

Zoetropes & Persistence of Vision

Have you ever wondered how the TV turns flashing lights into a moving image?  Persistence of vision allows us to trick our brains into seeing a moving image when still images are played back to back at a rapid pace.  In this demo we will learn about persistence of vision and build Zoetropes which are toys that make moving images.

Materials:
Pie tin or very sturdy paper plate 
Scissors
Tape
Dark cardstock or construction paper
Push Pin
Printable (link below)

Thermal IR Camera

While most cameras capture light on the visible spectrum, infrared cameras capture light on the infrared spectrum which allows us to see people even in the dark!  In this demo we will learn about the infrared camera.

Cow Eye Dissection

Even though we don’t think of it this way, our eyes are optical systems just like cameras that produce an image.  In this demo we will dissect a cow eye, which is very similar to a human eye, and look at the different optical components that allow us to see!

Fresnel Lens

Just like your glasses focus light onto your eyes, lenses can be used to focus light onto anything, and when a large light source such as the sun is focused onto a small area heat is generated.  In this demo we will use a fresnel lens to burn pennies, and also create a smaller sandwich bag lens that can be made at home.

Materials:
Sandwich bag
Water
Leaves or sticks that burn easily

Measuring the Speed of Light

Believe it or not, when you are heating up your popcorn packet there are actually light waves bouncing back and forth across the inside of your microwave!  By using the known wavelength of a microwave we will be able to measure the speed of light by heating up a chocolate candy bar.

Materials:
Microwave
Large candy bar or fruit by the foot
Ruler

Schlieren Imaging

Schlieren imaging is a great way to visualize flow in transparent media!

Laser Transmitter

This is an amazing little radio that uses light instead of wires!

Insects & Polarization

What you see everyday contains so much more information than you can imagine! Different visual systems provide us with unique information about the environment. Join me in learning about how insects see the world through polarization!