Lasers and optics focus of Morrill Hall's March 20 Sunday Scientist

Released on 03/09/2011, at 2:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

WHEN: Sunday, Mar. 20, 2011

WHERE: NU State Museum, Morrill Hall, south of 14th and Vine Streets [map]

Lincoln, Neb., March 9th, 2011 —
"Sunday with a Scientist" logo
UNL electrical engineering student Thomas Fink observes the signal from an optical sensor.
UNL electrical engineering student Thomas Fink observes the signal from an optical sensor.
A helium-neon laser (photo copyright 2004 David Monniaux).
A helium-neon laser (photo copyright 2004 David Monniaux).

What do sunglasses, barcodes, and Blu-Ray discs all have in common? Lasers and optics.

Lasers and optics are all around us and the University of Nebraska State Museum will host a Sunday with a Scientist program for children and families to learn about light, lasers, and optics from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. March 20 at Morrill Hall. Morrill Hall is south of 14th and Vine Streets on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln City Campus. Museum Sunday hours are 1:30-4:30 p.m.

Scientists in the UNL Department of Electrical Engineering will provide fun, hands-on activities and demonstrations to help visitors learn how lasers and optics work and impact our lives. Visitors will have the opportunity to tune and generate lasers, while exploring the fascinating properties of light and optics. The scientists will also explain the many ways in which we encounter them in daily life, from sunglasses, TV remote controllers, LCD displays and DVD players, to hologram art.

Presenters will include assistant professor Ming Han and students Thomas Fink and Greg Baker.

Sunday with a Scientist is a series of presentations that highlight the work of State Museum scientists and those from other UNL departments and institutions, while educating children and families on a variety of topics related to science and natural history. Presenters will share scientific information in a fun and informal way through demonstrations, activities, or by conducting their science on site.

Upcoming Sunday with a Scientist Topics: April 17 -- Fruit; May 15 -- Extreme Weather; June 19 -- Tissue Mechanics; July 17 -- Fish; Aug. 21 -- Climate Change; Sept. 18 -- Plants; Oct. 16 -- Fossils; Nov. 20 -- Viruses; Dec. 18 -- Minerals.

For updates on the Sunday with a Scientist schedule through the year and other museum information, visit

Established in 1871, the University of Nebraska State Museum is celebrating its 140th anniversary with public events and educational programming throughout the year. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and Friday-Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursdays, and 1:30-4:30 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $5 for adults (19 and over), $3 for children (5-18 years, 4 and under are free), and $10 for families (up to two adults and children). UNL staff, faculty and students are admitted free with valid NU ID. There is an additional charge for planetarium shows. Parking is free. For further information, telephone the museum at (402) 472-3779, visit its website, or contact Kathy French, education coordinator, at (402) 472-6647 or by e-mail.

WRITER: Dana Ludvik, Public Relations Coordinator, NU State Museum, (402) 472-3779