FOCUSING ON PEOPLE’S CURIOSITY: SCIENCE POPULARIZATION THROUGH EXPERIMENTS AND DEMONSTRATIONS ON OPTICS FOR A VARIETY OF AUDIENCES

A set of experiments and demonstrations in Optics has been prepared, including experiments about polarization of light and photoelasticity of ordinary objects, optical information transmission with a laser pointer, diffraction by tiny structures and its application to build a home-made spectrometer, the fluorescence of tonic water and that of minerals, or the Tyndall effect with a small volume of milk, among others. Many of these demonstrations have been already broadly used elsewhere in separated contexts, such as children science activities or pre-service-teacher experiences.

Our joint teaching and research background has motivated the interest in taking advantage of the experimental package for a variety of audiences. In this communication we describe how it has been applied in outreach activities with the most general audience, in undergraduate and postgraduate Physics courses, in initial teacher training courses and active teacher workshops, and with secondary school students. The common philosophy in every activity intended to make the audience enjoy with the experiments and help them to learn some Physics and ask themselves questions about the experiments and the physical phenomena involved.

Our willingness in awaking people’s scientific curiosity and increasing their interest in Science matches the engagement of the university with the popularization of Science and the spread of knowledge.