Learning About Optics

I was at volunteer training for the Experiment Gallery at the Science Museum of Minnesota tonight. We went through a series of demonstrations and experiments about optics. To cap it off I thought I might collect some links on optics for future reference.

Volunteering at SMM is a hell of a lot of fun. I volunteered for a few years in high school and returned in the late 1990s. Last summer I worked in the Playing with Time exhibit which was wicked cool. We had some CCD video cameras that could record up to 1000 frames per second. One was setup to record the pop of a piece of popcorn (only a single frame at 1000 fps) and another was setup to record people’s faces. Watching yourself in slow motion is one of those strange, almost out of body experiences. It’s hard to believe that the strange body on the television is really you. The web site above has some very cool demonstrations and videos to play with.

The only bad part about the Playing with Time exhibit was that there wasn’t a lot of room to do demonstrations. The equipment was really cool. I even found mysely wishing for my own high-speed video camera, though I have no idea what I would do with it. Now I’m back in the Experiment Gallery, which is basically a table that you can run demonstrations on - such as the optics ones we did today and the materials science ones from last week.