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Traveling Outreach Project: Optics on the Road, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa

Optics on the Road Tour: Namibia 2010

Host Organization: University of Stellenbosch/ Stellenbosch Laser Student Chapter

Event Dates: July 3-16, 2010

Event Description: Eight students of the Laser Research Institute at the University of Stellenbosch went on a science education outreach road trip in order to bring laser and optics demonstrations to schools in South Africa and Namibia that are usually out of reach of usual university activities such as Open Days and Science Weeks. Using two vehicles and a trailer, we travelled ca. 5500 km and visited 9 schools along the way - from private schools in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, to rural schools in Nyangana at the Namibian-Angolan border. We presented an interactive science show at the schools, covering topics such as diffraction and refraction, the mixing of colours demonstrated using lasers, liquid crystals, basic properties and application of lasers, laser communication as well as fluorescence and phosphorescence. We designed our presentation in a modular fashion, enabling us to adapt the show according to the knowledge of the learners in the different schools. In this way, we often did multiple sessions in one school for grades 8 - 12, reaching out to more than 500 children in remote areas, some of which have never seen a laser before. In addition, we hosted a community exhibition in Nyangana, attracting an additional 150 members of the general public. Details of the route and pictures of the trip.

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