Educational Outreach Activities

OSA's Optics and Photonics News:
(PDF files)

An Encounter with Optics for
Grade School Students November 04

Demo Excites
Young People
About Careers
In Technology,
June 00

Making Waves
with Optics
July 02
Outreach Print Material:
(PDF file)
Liquid Crystal Mood Patch Lesson Plan
July 04

User's Guide
SPIE's OE Magazine:
(PDF file)
In the Mood for Science March
HOME page
Ger Acrobat

Katie Hasman (Optics '08), Amy Bishop (Optics '08) and Dr. Jacobs at Penfield HS Chemstry Club 11/06 (above)

Terri Donlon and John Wilson (Optics '07) with a world map of Optics Suticase recipients (left) as of 4/07

Prof. Jacobs, his professional colleagues at LLE, and students working in his laboratories are deeply involved in educational outreach activities in the Rochester area, NY State, other areas of the country, and the international community. Starting in July 1999, they began working on a project called the Optics Suitcase, as part of the Education Program of the Rochester Section of the Optical Society of America (ROSA). The project goal is to encourage engineering professionals to go into middle schools and introduce students to exciting career opportunities in [optical] technology. As of December, 2012, over 500 Optics Suitcases had been shipped to schools and organizations all over the world. Funding for current activities is provided by grants from the OSA Foundation (OSAF). For more details, visit the OSA Rochester Section website


Elyse Wyatt demonstrating the Rainbow Peephole experiment to 70 seventy children during "Take Your Kids to Work Day" at LLE on 4/26/07

In this section you will find copies of articles that describe the program and feature comments from presenters and students. Also in this section is a copy of the User's Guide, and a description of our Liquid Crystal Mood Patch Lesson Plan.

For a video explaining cholesteric liquid crystals and how to make a mood patch, go to :

Please contact S. D. Jacobs ( for details on how to apply for a Suitcase, or go directly to the OSA Foundation web site and fill out the Optics Suitcase Application Form.

A typical classroom visit is organized around a 40 minute presentation contained in the Suitcase that uses reusable and "give-away" supplies. The "give-away" supplies consist of a set of three "theme packets" that explore color in white light. A 12 page User's Guide has been written to assist first time presenters in organizing an in-class presentation. The Guide has been translated into four languages: German, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese.

Alexis Spilman (Optics PhD student) demonstrating Optics Suitcase #57 to the recipients - students at Gowa Community Day Secondary School, Malawi, Central Africa, on June 4th, 2004.

Brochure and Kits


Some of the 106 sixth graders in Jim Carpenter's science classes at Greece Arcadia Middle School making liquid crystal mood patches in November '04 as part of an energy unit on heating and cooling. Jim used a lesson designed by U of R seniors Katie Spencer (Optics '05), Rupal Varshneya (Optics '05), and Anne Marino (Mathematics '05). Students quickly discovered that these sensors were useful for much more than assessing one's "mood".Want a kit to use for 30 students? Just ask.

Dr. Jacobs, Anne Marino, Jessica DeGroote, Jerry Cox, and Terri Pfuntner with an Optics Suitcse presentation to 70 children of LLE employees during

"Take Your Kids to Work Day" on 4/26/07

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