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01-05-2015

Clarkson University Professor Helps Develop New Poster Series for the Optical Society

Clarkson University Assistant Professor of Physics Jan Scrimgeour has helped write the Optical Society's new educational poster series in celebration of the 2015 International Year of Light.

Clarkson University Assistant Professor of Physics Jan Scrimgeour uses the inverted optical microscope to visualize living cells and cell culture. He helped write the Optical Society of America's new educational poster series in celebration of the 2015 International Year of Light.The United Nations has designated 2015 the International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies, with the Optical Society as one of the founding partners. Scrimgeour, a member of the Optical Society's Young Professionals Program, said the poster aims to highlight the importance of optics and provide educational outreach to middle schools across the globe.

Optics is the study of how light behaves and interacts with matter, and the guidebook features simple experiments that young students or their teachers would be able to introduce in the classroom. Scrimgeour said he remembers having fun with optics from an early age, which is why he chose to study this topic.

"Optics is an essential and enabling technology, but it's more than just that," he said. "You can touch and feel and play with it, and this series gives an idea of all the cool things you can do with optics."

Scrimgeour said the series isn't designed to push students into a career in optics, but to instead inform them about how the study of optics is involved in everyday life. He said optics play a crucial role in the development of portable technology such as cameras and smartphones.

"People don't think about it much, but it's the backbone of our communications," he said.

Scrimgeour wrote most of the text for the poster and helped edit and provide resources for the guidebook. He said the poster series, which is available in English, Spanish, French, German and Simplified Chinese, allows the message to reach international audiences.

"It's being translated into many languages and being shipped around the world, which is really very cool," he said.

Details of the poster series can be found online here.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Clarkson University Assistant Professor of Physics Jan Scrimgeour uses the inverted optical microscope to visualize living cells and cell culture. He helped write the Optical Society's new educational poster series in celebration of the 2015 International Year of Light.

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/jscrimgeour-microscope.jpg .]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or aharrison@clarkson.edu.]

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