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The 2010 Photonic Games: Learning Optics While Having Fun

By Univ. Laval SPIE Student Chapter

UPDATE: Photonic Games receives a finalist award from Forces Avenir! Congratulations!

For the third consecutive year, and with the help of an SPIE grant, graduate students in Optics & Photonics at Laval University (Québec City, Canada) held the Photonic Games, a friendly outreach competition involving over 130 grade 11 students from 3 local high schools. The activity aims at introducing them to optics and photonics through the hands-on application of physics principles and problem-solving.

The Photonic Games pits teams of four to five students against each other in various fun-filled challenges. In order to win, these teen-aged Olympians must rise to the occasion by showing the qualities that are required of skilled scientists: creativity, teamwork, knowledge, inquisitiveness, self-confidence and perseverance. In the Jell-Optics competition, students tried to hit a target with a laser beam by using lenses made of Jell-O. They also took turns on the optical mini-golf course where they attempted to score a hole-in-one using a laser and mirrors. A photography contest, a quiz, a hologram-making seminar, a solar car race and a laser maze rounded out the day’s activities.

The gold, silver and bronze medal teams shared prizes totalling over $1,800.

The 2010 Photonic Games were sponsored by Université Laval, the Center for Optics, Photonics and Lasers, SPIE and the Optical society of America (OSA).