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Outreach Overview

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The ROSA Education Committee has developed an exciting presentation for young people to promote careers in optical technology. Given the name,The Optics Suitcase, this presentation module is provided free of charge to groups performing outreach. As of 2012, over 500 Suitcases have been shipped to 55 countries and 34 US states through the Optical Society of America Foundation (OSA).

The key to the success of The Optics Suitcase is the take-home "Theme Packet". Three theme packets are used to explore color in white light: The Rainbow peephole - color through diffraction; Magic Stripes - color from polarization; and Magic Patch - color by selective reflection in liquid crystals. Fifty (50) sets of these three theme packets are contained in The Optics Suitcase.


A basic understanding of the three theme packets makes it possible for almost anyone to go into a school or after school youth group meeting and conduct an interactive and interesting "lesson" on technology. An instruction guide to giving a ~40 minute presentation is available in 5 languages: English, German, Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarine Chinese. For a copy, go to :




At the conclusion of the presentation, each child takes home the theme packets, a 1 page color flyer that conveys the basics of the presentation, and a copy of the periodic table of the elements. The lesson may be shared with parents and siblings.

In a typical presentation it is possible to go through introductory material and then cover the 3 theme packet demos. It is often valuable for a presenter to "customize" the presentation with information about the his/her background and involvement with technology. This may take the form of a viewgraph or two about the presenter's company or "technical hobby". The introduction should flow into and around the take-home demos.

More information and copies of articles that track the development and use of The Optics Suitcase may be found at the ROSA website: http://www.osarochester.org. The application for a Suitcase is available from the OSAF at: http://www.osa.org/forms/opticssuitcase.aspx.

If you encounter impediments or have additional questions, please contact the ROSA Education Committee Chairman, Steve Jacobs: sjac@lle.rochester.edu.

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This site was last updated September 2013.