September 1998

Optics Educations: Encouraging an Integrated Approach

Dennis G. Hall and Richard C. Powell

Optics has traditionally fallen under the academic disciplines of physics and engineering. But with optical technology playing an increasing role in modern life, the need for individuals studying and universities teaching optical science and engineering as its own discipline is growing.

Workforce Development for Optics and Photonics

The need for photonics technicians is rapidly increasing, but the present and future needs will most likely not be met. How do we encourage students to enter this continually transforming field, and adequately prepare them to become vital professionals?

Bridging the Gap Between Teaching and Learning in Geometrical Optics: The Role of Research

Research on the learning and teaching of physics is discipline-specific, focuses on the state of the student, and can be generalized beyond a particular instructor, course, or institution. As an example, this article describes how results from research have contributed to the improvement of student learning in geometrical optics.

PEER INSTRUCTION: An Interactive Approach for Large Lecture Classes

Peer Instruction, a method of actively involving students in lectures, avoids problems traditionally associated with conventional teaching, and increases students' understanding of concepts and test performance.

Science Literacy For All: An Achievable Goal?

“What the future holds in store for individual human beings, the nation, and the world depends largely on the wisdom with which humans use science and technology. And that, in turn, depends on the character, distribution, and effectiveness of the education that people receive.”—Science for All Americans, AAAS, 1989.

Educational Outreach: A Practical Approach

Optics need not be something only learned in college. There are plenty of opportunities for teaching optics to students of all ages, using a variety of venues.

Citation Managers

Recently, an OSA member requested that formatting "tags" recognizable to a citation manager be included with OSA online information. As it happens, that is an already established goal of OSA's electronic publications department— one they are currently working on. But, what is a citation manager and why is someone so eager to use one on OpticsNet?

Evanescent Coupling: Part 1

Evanescent electromagnetic waves abound in the vicinity of luminous objects. These waves, consisting of oscillating electric and magnetic fields in regions of space immediately surrounding an object, do not transfer their stored energy to other regions and, therefore, remain localized in space. Like all electromagnetic waves, the behavior of evanescent waves is governed by Maxwell's equations, and their presence in the vicinity of an object helps to satisfy the requirements of field continuity at the object's boundaries. Evanescent fields decay exponentially with distance away from the object's surface, making them exceedingly difficult to detect at distances much greater than a wavelength.

Low Magnification Parfocal Microscope Objective

At first glance it would seem that the design of an ultra-low-power microscope objective of about 2x magnification would be a trivial task. The required focal length is on the order of 70-100 mm, which is large compared to high power microscope objectives, but modest compared to many photographic objectives, and the NA need only be about 0.1. However, microscope objectives are usually designed to work in sets of three or four different focal lengths, all mounted to a turret.

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