Starting Monday, faculty, students and administrators at the UCF College of Optics & Photonics and its Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers (CREOL) will be pulling up their sleeves and showing the community what all their sophisticated research means for the average Joe.

The college, which is an international leader in laser and photonics research, has planned several activities from Monday, Feb. 25 through March 1 to help the public understand why laser and photonics research matters. And they’re making their events visual and down-to-earth so people can appreciate their work.

“The world of lasers and photonics is developing at an amazing pace,” said Bahaa Saleh, the dean of the college. “It’s quite exciting. Most people don’t realize the technology is practically in everything we use today from DVDs to cancer treatment. Here at UCF we are on the cutting edge of this technology and we hope our events this week show the community why our research matters, not just to us scientists, but to people everywhere.”

From lasers that light up music concerts to solar panels that provide clean energy at cost savings, UCF’s scientists are making a difference. So the college is inviting UCF and its surrounding community to visit its facilities this week and see the practical applications of their work. Among the events planned:

3 p.m. Monday: Laser Light Show in CREOL Room 102. CREOL has partnered with Pangolin Laser Systems; a world-renowned manufacturer of laser control systems, to put on a presentation about laser technology and how it is used in the entertainment industry. In addition to the presentation, Pangolin will perform a live laser light show for those in attendance.

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Solar Day hosted by the Florida Solar Energy Center at UCF’s Cocoa campus. Participate in activities and demonstrations including photovoltaics, solar thermal cooking, hydrogen fuel cell technology, and how to use solar energy in emergencies. FSEC’s director Jim Fenton will lead a demonstration on “PV on your Roof and Pay $1.08 a Gallon” at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Lasers – The Light Fantastic: Science and Applications from Pointers to DVDs. Professor Peter J. Delfyett will lead a lecture in CREOL room 102 covering the basic principles of how lasers work and highlight several examples of real world applications, such as the CD or DVD player and fiber optic communications. Simple principles will be accompanied with several hands-on-demonstrations.

4:30 p.m., on Wednesday, the CREOL 2013 KHET Tournament. Watch 16 students play a  KHET laser game tournament. The game is similar to chess, but involves bouncing laser beams onto different pieces on a board. The winner receives the latest KHET game. The tournament will be held in CREOL room 103. Sign up Monday from 1-5 p.m. in the CREOL lobby.

1 – 5 p.m. on Thursday, CREOL Optics Day Open House: The Cycle of Innovation. There will be a series of demonstrations, lab tours and meetings with professionals. There will be free giveaways and optics games.

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