Whenever I meet someone new, the conversation always ends up at “So what major are you studying?” As I boldly claim Optical Science, most people give me a smirk and say “So you work with eyes and prescription glasses?” Almost all of the people I have met have never heard of what an Optical Science major is. To spread the word outreach programs expose people to what Optical Science is all about.
Last Friday evening, Ventana Vista Elementary School hosted an annual Plant Science Night where scientific organizations from all over the city of Tucson come together to educate the next generation on the understanding of plants. But as an Optical Science major, what is our role at a Plant Science Night you ask? Because plants don’t have many characteristics on the surface, but under the microscope, millions of organisms are “swimming” microscopically. So as Optical Engineers, my group brought microscopes and lenses to discover movement behind what appears to be an inanimate object. Some of our demonstrations included, a homemade compound microscope made of K’nex and Lego’s, an apparatus where by just placing your phone on the surface, the camera on your phone can act as a microscope (you can even take a picture!), and a microscope that is projected to a 42 inch screen with a water sample taken from the turtle pond on the UofA campus. We brought 3 microscopes, so the other 2 that are not in use are for the students to look at different plant and cacti samples that Dr. Nofziger brought with him.