ATSE Extreme Science Show

After the success of the Optics in the Outback science outreach tour, Owen and I were hired to run a outreach show as part of the 2013 Australian Academy of Technology & Engineering “Extreme Science” event at the Melbourne Exhibition Center.

I sadly don’t have any footage from our show, but ABC science journalist Bernadette Hobbs had this to say about it:

Light is an area of science that so often ends up in the ghetto of prisms and diagrams, but your team’s workshop was outstanding. The fact that I can still remember most of what you guys did two months ago speaks volumes about how creative and exciting your show was!

You brought light to life – the ‘Survivor’-style flame torch demonstrating wave motion was spectacular. The kids were hooked from that moment. And I’ve got to say the total internal reflection demo with laser light in a stream of water was simple and incredibly effective. You could see the light switch on in those minds.

Working out the difference between a dvd & a cd was brilliant.

And of course everyone loved the Catherine Zeta-Jones inspired navigation through laser alarm and smoke machine.

The combination of disco lighting, music and practical/recognisable/familiar objects (changing the track on the player by changing the colour of light signal) that kids could mess with and control is a total winner.

I’ve seen a lot of workshops aimed at challenging and exciting kids with applications of research, and yours was equal to any of them – and far better than most!

We’re never aiming to fully explain how things work in demos like this – sparking the curiosity and exciting their sense of excitement is the best outcome. And your team achieved that in spades.

Congratulations to CUDOS for seeing the value of critical outreach activities like this. And congratulations to you for not going into Fourier transforms even though you wanted to!

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