Women in Science and Engineering

Stony Brook Laser Teaching Center

Second Meeting - 30 November 2006




We started our meeting by playing with magnifying glasses in the SAC lobby. Dr. Noe brought these over to try focusing sunlight, but it was too cloudy for this. So we made telescopes by looking through two lenses. Unfortunately Dr. Noe forgot the camera, so we don't have any pictures.

At the lab we discussed how to understand the "laws" of reflection and refraction from Fermat's "principle of least time." We drew diagrams showing different possible reflections and measured the total distance the light travels with a ruler. We could see that the path with the minimum distance (which is also the least time) was close to what we expected. Next time we'll try this using a spreadsheet program to calculate the distances.

We discussed the same idea for refraction, and then played with laser beams in a fishtank, and many other optics demonstrations.