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LaserFest at William and Mary

Laserfest at WM

laser show

Photo contest first place: Daniel Eicher
Photo contest first place: Daniel Eicher

Photo contest second place: Travis Horrom
Photo contest second place: Travis Horrom

Photo contest third place: Peter Ross
Photo contest third place: Peter Ross

Photo contest third place: Jeffrey Nelson
Photo contest third place: Jeffrey Nelson

Principle coordinator and organizer: Irina Novikova

Student core group: Ron Wilcox, Francesca Fornacini (Sprint'10), Patric King (Fall'10), Tim Melburn (Fall'10), Anne Mennen (Fall'10).

Participating faculties: Seth Aubin, Eugeniy Mikhailov,Hannes Schniepp

We also worked in close collaboration with WM OSA student chapter (president - Matt Simons)

Information about all the event.


1. Campus-wide photo contest (March-April 2010)

All members of College of William and Mary community were welcome to submit laser-related photos.
Event details.
Number of organizers: 4
Number of participants: 20 (not everyone submitted photos at the end)

2. LaserFest Open House at Physics Department (November 11, 2010)

Physics department of William and Mary opened doors for general audience. Information about the event

The list of activities:

  1. Research lab visits.

    Participating scientists:

    Seth Aubin - Laser Cooling and Ultra-cold Matter;
    Gunter Luepke - Ultrafast Material Studies
    Irina Novikova and Eugeniy Mikhailov - Quantum and Nonlinear optics;
    Bill Cooke - Biophysics;
    Todd Averett - Experiments with Subatomic Particles

    For our younger visitors we offer an exciting treasure hunt, in which they had to visit all the laboratories and ask specific questions to get a prize!

  2. Interactive laser demonstrations

    We have presented demonstrations from our LaserFest Road Show (HeNe laser operation, Mechanical action of the laser on Balloons, Liquid Fiber Optics), plus an experimental demonstration on particle/wave duality.

  3. Laser-inspired photo contest

    We provided simple keychain lasers for people to explore lasers and take photos. This was a very popular activity, but nobody sent us photos afterward.

  4. "Amazing Lasers" presentations from William&Mary professors


    Prof. Seth Aubin "Laser cooling and Atom Lasers"
    Prof. R. Ale Lukaszew "Blue-Ray DVD technology"
    Prof. Hannes C. Schniepp "Atomic Force Microscopy: Sub-Nanometer Precision Guided by Laser Light"
    Prof. Irina Novikova "Quantum Internet"
    Prof. Bill Cooke "Visualizing cancer molecule by molecule: Laser Desorption Mass Spectroscopy"
    Prof. Eugeniy Mikhailov, "LIGO: Laser Detection of Ripples in Space"

  5. OSA student chapter has organized "Hit the target competition"

    Number of organizers: around 20
    Number of visitors: around 200 from Williamsburg and greater Hampton Road area.

    News coverage of this event:


    The DoG Street Journal

    William & Mary College

3. LaserFest Road Show demonstrations

We visited several local schools (plus we organize a show for students visiting from Georgia).

More information about our demonstrations.

School visited

  1. Nov. 2 New Horizon Educational Center, Hampton VA

    Number of attending students: 15

    Video recording is available here.

  2. Nov. 3 Yorktown Elementary School, Yorktown VA

    Number of attending students: 50

  3. Nov. 23 Berkeley Middle School, Williamsburg, VA

    Number of attending students: 220

    Photographs are available here.

  4. Nov. 29 Jamestown High School, Williamsburg, VA

    Number of attending students: 75

  5. Dec. 4 We had visitors from 5th grade class from Brookwood School in Thomasville, Georgia
  6. Number of attending students: 30

    We also have two more event scheduled in Yorktown Elementary School in February-March for more class visits and PTA science night (Feb. 15).

    Our demonstrations are available on-line on youtube.com. These are recently updated videos (to improve quality of presentation)

    Total internal reflections and liquid fiber optics

    Basics of Laser operation and Helium Neon laser

    Balloon popping and mechanical action of the laser (great for teaching laser safety too!)

    Balloon in the balloon and basic properties of laser light

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