OPSoc PGR students shed light on science at Winchester Cathedral Primary Science Festival

In General

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Postgraduate Research students from Optics and Photonics Society (OPSoc) took part in the Winchester Cathedral Primary Science Festival on 08 and 09 November.

The festival, now in its second year, helps pupils to explore science in the spectacular medieval building, working with scientists to carry out practical experiments.

Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the festival is organised to help Year 6 pupils gain an understanding of science in the working world including sound, geology and light as part of their Key Stage 2 Science National Curriculum studies.

The festival was a success with 120 primary school pupils and their teachers in attendance. Students described the day, which included a workshop on the theme of light organised by OPSoc’s Lightwave Roadshow as “fascinating,”, “interactive” and “enjoyable”.

The Lightwave Roadshow, an optics and photonics outreach and public engagement education, ran hands-on workshops to explore different topics including the electromagnetic spectrum, how the human eye sees light and sending messages with light across the cathedral. The experiments were linked to the stained glass in the cathedral, which have been used to tell stories with light for centuries.

Lightwave Ambassador, Lieke van Putten, said: “I think it is important for young students to learn about science and to experience first-hand what it is like to do experiments. I found it very rewarding to hear how their opinion on science and scientists changed throughout the various demos.”

Andrei Donko, first year Postgraduate student, added: “Educating children about light at Winchester Cathedral was enjoyable and rewarding. Outreach activities such as this one are important to me as they are of great value to children. The activities fill an inspirational and educational role, supplementing the national curriculum learning experience to show science extends beyond the classroom. The outreach activity encourages diversity by providing children with a wide range of role models from all religions, ethnicities and genders. Being part of this has been great fun and I would highly recommend getting involved.”

The Lightwave Roadshow runs workshops in schools and fairs throughout the year. The Roadshow will be taking part in the 2017 University of Southampton Science and Engineering Day on Saturday 18 March. The programme is supported by Union Southampton, the Optical Society (OSA), the SPIE, the IEEE Photonics Society and the UK’s EPSRC Future Photonics Manufacturing Hub. For more information about the Lightwave Roadshow and for booking a school event, please contact OPSoc@soton.ac.uk.

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