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An Optical Outreach Kit for School and Community Outreach


A presentation from the 2014 Summer Meeting: Minneapolis, Minnesota


We present a collaborative effort between 3M and The Bakken Museum to create a science encouragement kit for the 3M Visiting Wizards program. The program is part of a long 3M tradition that provides teaching materials and training to employees for science outreach in schools, science fairs, and other public venues. The kit was designed to teach a few fundamental principles of classical optics through the history of the camera obscura. Camera obscuras have been used for centuries as a means of projecting an image of the real world onto a surface, usually a canvas, so that it may be copied or studied. The use of the device in the paintings of Vermeer and other painters (the “Hockney-Falco Thesis”) is a hotly debated topic that is woven into the kit. As one of a few dozen kits created and used by 3M employees, this portable kit includes a collapsible black tent (the camera), a variable aperture and lens assembly (the pinhole and lens), an efficient collimated LED light source, and retroreflective garments, graphics, and eyeglasses. A laser pointer on a gimbal is used as an auxiliary part of the kit to teach the principle of image inversion in pinhole optics.


Justin Spencer

Steven Walvig
Martin Wolk

Paper Type:

2014 Summer Meeting: Minneapolis, Minnesota

09:00 AM

Stories, Replicas, & Kits


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