Table of Contents
Science, Optics and You is a science curriculum package being developed for teachers, students, and parents. These activities are designed to promote the asking and answering of questions related to light, color, and optics. The program begins with basic information about lenses, shadows, prisms, and color, leading up to the use of sophisticated instruments scientists use to help them understand the world. The goal of Science, Optics and You is for students to acquire the skills with which they can do microscopic analysis of a variety of samples in multiple ways. Use the links below to navigate to featured subsections of this Website.
Timeline in Optics - A summary of important events in optics, microscopy, astronomy, and the physics of light and color. Spanning from prehistory to the beginning of the twenty-first century, the timeline places each discovery, invention, theory, and development into a larger context of the world and its history. Find out when Halley's comet was first observed, how Christopher Columbus caused the moon to go dark, and who really invented the light bulb.
Pioneers in Optics - Since the early days in Alexandria when Euclid described the laws of reflection in Optica, the science of optics has fascinated and challenged society's most brilliant minds. Some have made it possible to reach for the stars, while others have helped unveil a microscopic realm on Earth. Tribute is paid to these heroes through brief biographies that acknowledge their tremendous accomplishments and how they have affected civilization.
Light and Color - Light is a complex phenomenon that is classically explained with a simple model based on rays and wavefronts. The light and color section of Science, Optics & You explores many aspects of visible light, beginning with an introduction to electromagnetic radiation and continuing through to the perception of color and characteristics of lenses.
Museum of Microscopy - Microscopes, first invented more than four centuries ago, have undergone many changes over the years. The Molecular Expressions Museum of Microscopy is a historic exploration of the beautiful and functional instruments. Examples range from rudimentary sixteenth century Dutch designs, to the magnificently ornate microscopes of eighteenth and nineteenth century Europe, to the latest microprocessor-powered models.
Optics Resources on the Web - A collection of links to other educational Websites dealing with optics, microscopy, and astronomy may be navigated to find additional information. The resources provide an array of interesting data, such as how to directly contact a microscopist with a question, how to go on a micronautic adventure, and how to visit a microbe zoo.
Interactive Java Tutorials - A variety of interactive Java tutorials demonstrate difficult concepts in optics and the physics of light and color, providing a hands-on approach to optics education. Users are able to virtually control prisms, shadows, microscopes, and even the moon, which enables them to develop a better understanding of how the world works, while having fun and learning at their own pace.
Powers of 10 - A new perspective on the relative size of everything in the Universe is provided by this interactive Java tutorial. Beginning at the Milky Way at 10 million light years from the Earth, the tutorial moves through space in successive orders of magnitude. After reaching a tall oak tree in Tallahassee, Florida, the tutorial progresses into a microscopic world that reveals the inner structures of a single leaf and finally delves into the subatomic universe of electrons and protons.
The Olympus MIC-D Digital Microscope - Olympus has thrown the doors open to a new era in optical microscopy education with the introduction of the MIC-D inverted digital microscope. Designed specifically for a wide spectrum of applications ranging from basic classroom instruction to more advanced laboratory analysis, this versatile microscope features a palette of contrast enhancing techniques that rival many research-level instruments.
Teacher Resources - Instructions and background information for classroom activities investigating light, optics, and color are included in this online guidebook. Each entry includes helpful information outlining the skills students will utilize, the approximate amount of time that will be needed to complete the activity, and tips for leading discussion. The activities can be easily modified, if needed, to fit into any teaching plan or style.
Student Activities - Light, optics, and color may be investigated through these activities written by educators with input from scientists, researchers, students, and teachers. The projects are diverse and are meant to encourage students to gain insight into new areas while exercising a number of other skills, such as analysis, creativity, and communication.
Background Material - The Molecular Expressions Microscopy Primer provides an advanced series of tutorials about the basics of optical microscopy, photomicrography, digital imaging, and specialized techniques in microscopy. The information can act either as background material or as a solid foundation for higher-level studies.
Intel Play QX3 Computer Microscope - The Intel Play QX3 Computer Microscope has been developed as the result of a creative partnership between Intel and Mattel. Together they have combined creative design, state-of-the art video imaging, and computer technology to allow students and amateur scientists to explore the microscopic realm, capture images, make movies, and perform time-lapse investigations with a simple click of the mouse.
QX3 Microscope Java Simulator - Familiarity with equipment is an essential component of successful microscopy. This Interactive Java simulator of the QX3 microscope functions like the real thing and includes detailed instructions and explanations that make learning how to use the instrument both fun and easy.
QX3 Microscope Galleries - By using advanced contrast enhancing techniques with the incredible QX3 microscope, spectacular images can be obtained. In these galleries, even the most ordinary objects look interesting. A variety of techniques are demonstrated, including transmitted and reflected brightfield, darkfield, Rheinberg illumination, and polarized light.
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