RMSC Exhibit Sheds Light on Photonics for Children, Parents

RMSC Exhibit Sheds Light on Photonics for Children, Parents



By Mary McCombs

Since the announcement last summer that Rochester won the photonics center, the push is on to educate young people about the field that essentially uses light.

“We’re really trying to attract more young people into this as a career path,” said Peter Hallett.

Realizing that no one wants to read a technical journal about how photonics works, Hallett found a book that explains the field in a simple way.

“There’s plenty of technical material for people with PHD’s, this book is really targeted at families,” said Hallett.

The book is free and can be found at the Rochester Museum and Science Center.

“The science center really here is a center and has some very nice exhibitions for demonstrating how light is used,” said Hallett.

The mini moving gallery opened last summer to celebrate International Year of Light. The exhibit is now seen as a teaching tool for young people and their families to learn a lesson in photonics.

“When the museum decided that they wanted to build this exhibit, it was a natural partnership with the photonics cluster. Our members were eager to sponsor it, eager to get families and children exposed to different applications of light and how its used in their lives,” said Tom Battley, NY Photonics executive director.

The teaching tools not only include the exhibit and the book, but a map that outlines New York state’s strategic strengths.

“The number of companies on the map continues to grow. We don’t know all the optics and photonics companies in New York, but when they see the map if they’re not on it, they want to be on it,” said Battley.

Experts in the field of photonics say by equipping the Rochester Museum and Science Center with the right tools, perhaps young people will consider a career in optics and photonics.

“Maybe they’ll take a look at taking some more science classes in school and maybe take a path into the world of photonics for higher education,” said Hallett.