Prof. Steve Jacobs, his professional colleagues at LLE, and students working in his laboratories are deeply involved in educational outreach activities in the Rochester area, NY State, other areas of the country, and the international community. Starting in July 1999, they began working on a project called the Optics Suitcase, as part of the Education Program of the Rochester Section of the Optical Society of America (ROSA). The project goal is to encourage engineering professionals to go into middle schools and introduce students to exciting career opportunities in [optical] technology. As of December, 2012, over 500 Optics Suitcases had been shipped to schools and organizations all over the world. Funding for current activities is provided by grants from the OSA Foundation (OSAF).
A typical classroom visit is organized around a 40 minute presentation contained in the Suitcase that uses reusable and "give-away" supplies. The "give-away" supplies consist of a set of three "theme packets" that explore color in white light. A 12 page User's Guide has been written to assist first time presenters in organizing an in-class presentation. The Guide has been translated into four languages: German, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese.
Some of the 106 sixth graders in Jim Carpenter's science classes at Greece Arcadia Middle School making liquid crystal mood patches in November '04 as part of an energy unit on heating and cooling. Jim used a lesson designed by U of R seniors Katie Spencer(Optics '05), Rupal Varshneya (Optics '05), and Anne Marino (Mathematics '05). Students quickly discovered that these sensors were useful for much more than assessing one's "mood".Want a kit to use for 30 students? Just ask.