Photos from the 2016 camps are now available! We also worked with the GeeringUp! Program here at UBC to film some of the activities for our Fun with Physics Camps. Check them out!
By Theresa Liao on September 6, 2016
By Theresa Liao on December 1, 2015
Every year students and faculty at the Department of Physics and Astronomy present a public science show in December. This show is suitable for children of ALL AGES, and for adults who are young at heart!
By Christie Waltham on October 15, 2015
What is the first image that springs to mind when you think “physicist”? Is it Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory? Or a grumpy, absent-minded professor? That is precisely what Kelvin, Physics and Astronomy’s most recent mentorship student, thought before he came to spend some time in the department.
Despite the possibility of working with “grumpy, old people who talk strangely”, physics has been one of Kelvin’s favorite things to learn and hear about. So when his school offered him a chance to participate in the science mentorship program, Kelvin had his mind set on doing the mentorship through UBC Department of Physics & Astronomy.
During my mentorship, I did many really cool things with [the Outreach coop student] Emma. I messed around with breadboards, played with seven segment displays, and learned how to solder things together. It was truly filled with joy and happiness. Sometimes, there isn’t too much to do so I just play around with the breadboards (it gets boring after a while). Other times, when there is an upcoming event, I get to test out all the cool things that the students participating will be doing.
Kelvin also had a chance to meet with several professors in person. As Kelvin found out very soon, physicists do not really fit the expected stereotypes.
Before meeting them, I thought all professors were really grumpy, old people who talk strangely. However, now I know that not all professors are like that. The professors I met were really cool, young, and friendly. They all welcomed me and tried to answer all the questions that I had. I even had a chance to participate in a lab that university students do.
Kelvin was introduced to Dr. Hirohisa Takana, a UBC Physics & Astronomy Associate Professor, at TRIUMF.
Hiro is really nice…I learned a lot about elementary particles from him. He took time out of his busy schedule to explain to a gr 10 student why neutrinos oscillate, and I really appreciate that.
Apart from debunking stereotypes about physicists, the mentorship opportunity allows Kelvin to explore areas in physics and astronomy that he’s interested in, about what life is like as a scientist, and what university is like. He participated in an undergraduate-level lab, and learnt what the pizza prices are in the Student Union Building.
If you are an elementary or high school student interested in having a similar opportunity, or simply want to chat with the department’s scientists, consider joining your school’s science mentorship program and contact us for a mentor. While not all professors are available, do fill out a mentorship request form with as much information as possible so that we can help plan something out for you.
By Theresa Liao on October 13, 2015
What is light? Where did light come from, and where is it going? From optical displays and quantum devices to the secret life of lasers, learn about light from leading UBC researchers. On October 17, join UBC Physics & Astronomy in celebrating the UNESCO International Year of Light and the department’s centennial year for a free public lecture and lab tours.
Free registration: https://ubclight2015.eventbrite.com
1:00 – 2:30pm Presentations by
- Lorne Whitehead – Optical displays: seeing is believing
- Harvey Richer – Light from the Universe
- Lukas Chrostowski – Using light for communications
- David Jones – The secret life of lasers
- Jeff Young – Quantum optical devices
2:30 – 4:30pm Lab tours
Selected labs in AMPEL (Advanced Material and Process Engineering Laboratory, 2355 East Mall) with light-related research topics will be open for public visits. Participating labs and topics:
- Flexible Electronics and Energy Laboratory (FEEL): Flexible Solar Cells and Light Emitting Diodes. Solar cells and light emitting diodes have the potential to be printed on rolls of plastic, paper and fabric in future. We will show some prototype flexible organic solar cells and organic light emitting diodes on flexible plastic substrates.
- Ultrafast Spectroscopy Laboratory: Photoemission Spectroscopy of Quantum Materials. At the Ultrafast Spectroscopy Laboratory, we pursue development of new laser sources/technology, –some based in part on femtosecond frequency combs– and then employ of them in innovative and new spectroscopic applications.
- Biophotonics Laboratory: Optical imaging systems for biomedical applications. We will show a multiphoton microscopy system and an optical coherence tomography system.
- Photonics and Nanostructures Laboratory: Optical Microcavities for Engineering the Interaction of Light and Matter. Visitors will see electron microscope images showing a variety of optical microcavities (approximately 100 times smaller than the thickness of a human hair) used to manipulate and characterize individual nanometre-sized particles, and to generate and detect single photons, all on a silicon chip.
- UBC Sustainability Solutions Applied Physics Laboratory (Demos): The physics of colour quality for indoor illumination. If you’ve shopped for light bulbs recently, you may have noticed that there are a lot of options. Retailers often have light bulbs on display, but it’s almost impossible to know how they will make things look in your home, just by looking at the bulb. In this demonstration, we’ll explain the interesting physics behind this and will show some examples.
- Opto-Electronic Laboratory: Optics on a chip. Experimentation with optical circuits implemented using electronic chip manufacturing technology. Applications are for high-speed optical communications and sensors.
- Molecular Mechatronics Laboratory: Solar Rechargeable Redox Flow Battery. An integrated solar cell – battery structure. The design enables higher solar energy storage yields compared to a system of separate solar cells and batteries and is hoped to facilitate wider use of solar power.
By Theresa Liao on June 2, 2015
Before talking about our upcoming participation in the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire, we would like to use this opportunity to say “Hello World!” Indeed this is the Outreach Program’s first blog post. We are excited to use this blog to share our upcoming events, fun & educational hands-on activities, “behind-the-scene” stories, and profiles of physicists and astronomers in the department. Make sure to watch this space for more to come – and stay in the loop by subscribing to our Outreach Program newsletter.
Today we want to give you a very short preview of what you will see at our booth at the upcoming Vancouver Mini Maker Faire on June 6/7 at the PNE Forum. Hosted by the Vancouver Maker Foundation, VMMF is an annual event, probably the most awesome show and tell in the city. Local Makers gather and showcase the things they made – from electronics, crafts, to 3D-printed anything. We are excited to be part of the VMMF this year together with the UBC Engineering Physics Program.
What do we have in the store? We will be bringing a few things with us…
1. Bristle bots
2. Light theremin
AND our super popular hovercraft (yes, you can stand on it), plus a few other mystery projects 🙂 All these are projects everyone can try to make at home.
The Engineering Physics Program will showcase robots from the ENPH 253 robot course (last year’s challenge was Indiana Robot and the Temple of The Zipline), and show samples/videos of waterjet cutting and laser cutting in action.
That’s the most we are willing the reveal, the rest you will need to find out at the VMMF this year. See you then!