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A Meeting with Light

OSA Student Chapter of Université Laval

During the 2015 International Year of Light, the OSA Student Chapter of Université Laval volunteered to create a fully autonomous exhibition presenting the basics of light to the people of Québec City. Made of two informative banners and 4 interactive modules each displaying an experiment related to both fundamental and technological aspects of light, the goal of “A Meeting with Light” was to illustrate the importance of light-related technologies and its role in daily life.

After almost a year of preparations, it was first opened to the general public on campus for more than three weeks. It was then extended to the public library network in order to reach more and more people who are not directly related to optics or science at large. Showcased in the city’s largest library, Gabrielle Roy, in January 2016 and at the Monique Corriveau library in April, the exhibition continued to thrive and was later on hosted in major professional events for a more initiated public at the Photonics North and IONS Québec 2016 conferences or for a general audience at the Career and Formation Show of Québec. Several local events at the Center for Optics, Photonics and Lasers (COPL) research center (Université Laval) also allowed us to promote our chapter to potential new members or partners from the local academic and industrial community. Fully mobile and autonomous, the exhibition is continuously running in various events and is likely to be presented in several high schools of the region for the years to come.

Thanks to the financial support of the OSA Centennial Special Events Grant, we estimate that “A Meeting with Light” has now been seen by more than 1300 people, and the numbers are growing. Optics and photonics has been an important technological niche in Quebec City for several decades; as the main activity of the region for the IYL, this exhibition created a unique occasion to bring together local leaders from academia, industry and even government around a common goal: to promote optics to a broad audience and make the people of Québec realize the economic importance of this field in their town. 
Image for keeping the session alive