Students present optics activities at Ithaca Sciencenter

On Saturday, May 7th Cornell Engineering graduate students presented optics-themed activities to the public at the Sciencenter, a hands-on children's museum located in Ithaca, New York

The activities were organized as part of a module on science communication as part of the Meinig School associate professor Steven Adie’s Modern Biomedical Microscopy (BME 6320) course. The course covers current trends in the development of novel microscopy techniques for imaging cells and tissues, and aims to help students experience what it might be like to be in the shoes of a developer of optical microscopy technologies.

Supported by a five-year National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award, granted in collaboration with Kathy Dimiduk, director of Cornell Engineering's James McCormick Family Teaching Excellence Institute, and the Sciencenter’s NSF-funded Portal to the Public, the module incorporated three training workshops, including one “face the public” workshop aimed at training students on how to connect with a general audience. In one of  the workshops, Sciencenter Education Program Coordinators Peter Leipzig and Caroline Frigon gave students feedback on activity design. The module culminated with students running the optics and imaging activities in person with visitors as part of the Science Connections programming the Sciencenter holds on Saturdays. (The gallery below shows photos from the training workshops and Science Connections activities.) Students in the class themed the activities as “Clearing up Optics!”

Adie said that the main goals of the module are to help people of different ages without technical background learn something about and experience some of the excitement associated with optics and imaging. In addition, he believes that students in the class gain valuable experience learning to communicate optics and imaging concepts at different levels, to enable them to connect with both technical and non-technical audiences. “The students enjoy this module in the course,” he added. "These experiences are important to help them share some of their technical knowledge and why it is important more widely, and to inspire upcoming young scientists and engineers.”

Other Articles of Interest