A European project by

GoPhoton! ends with a dance, music and light show

GoPhoton! has come to an end with a spectacular dance, music and light show, “Obre les Ulls” (Open the Eyes) that has attracted more than 800 people in an iconic building in the center of Barcelona, the Museum of Barcelona’s History. After last year’s success of GoPhoton! in Barcelona’s light festival Llum BCN, this year ICFO, GoPhoton!’s partner in Barcelona,  was invited again to take part of this event that takes place in February every year. For this occasion, and as this event would be the last activity of the GoPhoton! project, ICFO organized a big light show that through dance and micro mappings showcases the impact that photonics has in society’s daily life. The public could see how light-based technologies surround us, in such broad range of situations such as the lighting systems to communications or health. 


The show was designed in collaboration with ICFO by the company Muralla15. This show had been previously seen in Paris, during IOTA’s PhotonicSplash, where it was also very well received.



20160213_LlumBCN_muralla15 (19) (640x427)

Big success of the 1st edition of the Young Photonic Congress in Barcelona

On Friday 20 November the 1st edition of the Young Photonic Congress took place in Barcelona. Organized by ICFO-Institute of Photonic Sciences within the GoPhoton! project, close to 100 students aged 10-18 presented research projects related to photonics, investigations which they had carried out in the during the last 12 months. This translated into more than 40 posters simulating the most professional scientific meetings. Students arrived accompanied by teachers and family members and, as in every scientific conference, picked up their badges that identified them as presenters or participants. In total there were close to 140 attendants. The congress started with a plenary session in which attendants learned about the power of photonics, a KET with a wide range of applications that impacts our daily life and translates into an impact in the 10% of the European economy.


After the plenary session, the young researchers presented their work using a poster that they had created simulating the ones used by professional scientists. ICFOnians took part in the congress by visiting the posters and talking with the students. This gave the young ones the opportunity to meet with professional researchers, experience in first person an essential aspect of a scientist’s life such as networking, as well as to share with them their projects and exchange ideas.





Those students that presented posters also had the opportunity to visit their peers’ posters, in what aimed at being a real scientific poster session. The projects presented during the congress spanned a wide range of photonics themes; that is from learning how to measure the speed of light using an egg, as explained by a 12 year old student, and determining Planck’s constant using LEDs as performed by a group of secondary school students, to showing that more information can be gathered when observing an image vertically or horizontally than diagonally, as demonstrated by a student that built a low cost Eye Tracker DIY, or even learning how to synthesize nanomaterials or explaining the STORM  technique and applications. The youngest students participating in the event were only 10 and 11 years old, an amazing couple of very motivated students brought a poster to show the experiments they had carried out to learn about light’s properties of reflection and refraction.  


For the final session of the congress, the Head and the Coordinator of ICFO’s Academic Programs awarded the young students with a diploma that certified their attendance and recognized their hard work. In summary, the congress was an absolute success, and visitors left the event asking for a second edition.


Electronic versions of the posters can be downloaded from GoPhoton!’s website in the following link: http://gophoton.eu/outreach-material/.


A reduced group of students that had attended the morning session stayed during the afternoon to participate in a satellite workshop organized by ICFO about scientific communications using mobile technologies. In this workshop, students learned how to use Apps to create outreach videos using Stop Motion techniques. It helped them realize the importance of communications in science and the use of new technologies in the dissemination of projects and scientific concepts.

mosaic posters

NUI Galway Embraces The Power Of Light With Photonics!

The School of Physics at NUI Galway will host a series of outreach events to coincide with Science Week 2015 and the 18th Galway Science and Technology Festival this November.


Events will commence with Galway’s own PhotonicSplash, an opening lighting event at NUI Galway’s iconic Quadrangle on the evenings of Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th of November, marking the UNESCO International Year of Light 2015 and showcasing the importance of Photonics in our lives. Photonics encompasses all of the different ways scientists and engineers can manipulate, control and harness the power of light.


NUI Galway’s Tissue Optics and Microcirculation Imaging (TOMI) research group as a partner of the GoPhoton! initiative, have developed photonic apps for android smartphones and tablets which include a heart rate monitor and an embarrassment detector. These and some other fun apps intended for children, schools and the general public will demonstrate how the technology available in these fantastic devices, which would not be possible without Photonics. There will be lots of equipment, toolkits and demos provided within an informal educational framework, which will allow students to learn so much about photonics.


The PhotonicSplash will also feature hands-on experiments, educational videos, training, demos, posters and artworks indoors on the Concourse in front of the Dillon Theatre at NUI Galway on Sunday, 22 November. Suitable for all ages and families, the events will highlight the importance of photonics and ignite the interest of children, students and adults alike. The demos will be run by TOMI members who will represent the NUI Galway International Society of Optics and Photonics (SPIE) Chapter.


Two PhotonicSplash events called ‘LIGHTtalks’ will take place on Friday, 20 November from 11am-12pm in the old Moore Institute Seminar Room in the Arts Science Building at NUI Galway. Both talks will be preceded by promotional photonics productions that have been produced in conjunction with LIGHT2015. A talk about ‘Careers in Photonics’ will be given by Professor David Sampson and aimed at 2nd and 3rd level students and the public providing information about a career in photonics.


Resident researcher and Compact Imaging Head of Application Development Ireland, Dr Paul McNamara will give the second talk entitled ‘Photonics and Industry’ aimed at industry, entrepreneurs and the public, explaining how industry and photonics are linked and how Photonics is crucial to every aspect of technology in modern everyday life. This will be aimed at entrepreneurs and industry partners who can integrate Photonics into their pursuits.


As part of the final day Exhibition of the Galway Science and Technology Festival on Sunday, 22th November, young people, families and adults of all ages can experience the amazing Laser Harp show by Britain’s Got Talent 2012 Semi Finalist, Greig Stewart from 11am-4pm in the Dillon Theatre in the Arts Concourse Building at NUI Galway. The Congress will run after the shows outside the lecture hall where the kids will interact with demonstrators, experiments and other Festival fun! The PhotonicSplash promises to put Photonics at the forefront of everyone minds at this year’s Festival with fun for all ages and interests.


Professor Martin Leahy, School of Physics at NUI Galway, said: “Next week’s photonics splash events represent a major part of NUI Galway’s contribution to the UNESCO international year of light 2015. We have an exciting array of events lined up and we do hope that many of you can join us on campus during the week.”


For more information please email Sean O’Gorman, NUI Galway on s.ogorman2@nuigalway.ie.


Special edition of Science-show “Photonics: The technology of Light”

On the 26th and the 27th of October, ten young B-PHOT researchers teamed up for a lively and interactive Photonics science show, where they showcased basic but important concepts of light and light technology. These concepts were illustrated with cutting-edge real-life applications.

More than 1500 students from 45 secondary schools came to the VUB to participate in one of the three photonics science shows. The students were introduced to lasers for medical applications, LEDs for energy-efficient lighting, solar concentrators and 3-dimensional displays.

Wtnschp welcomed all students.

During the show the students were also invited to participate in a quiz using their mobile phones. The student with the most correct answers and the shortest response time received a nice prize at the end of the show.

Volunteers from the public joined our researchers on stage to assist them with experiments using infrared light, fluorescence, tunable lenses, color mixing, endoscopy, optical sensors, and much more.




Some reactions of the teachers:

“The nice thing about the show is that you get to see many applications in everyday life. This way, the students find that science is truly fascinating.”

Mrs Cornil, KA Geraardsbergen

“Lively sciences in a fun, understandable way brought by specialists.”

Mr Rubben, Immaculata Instituut Brugge

“An interactive show, brought with a lot of enthusiasm. This is a nice way for the pupils to meet young researchers.”

Mrs Devriendt, SIGO!Lennik

“Interesting, instructive, tailored to the pupils, up to date, intensive, modern, intellectually challenging, not too long nor too short, entertaining!”

Mrs Dewit, Don Bosco Technisch Instituut, Sint-Pieters-Woluwe


Some reactions of the students: (They commented via text message, so the comments are anonymous.)

“The show was super! Everyone was very spontaneous, and the explanation was very clear! It was a great show!”

“The show was very entertaining and interesting. The researchers are very cool!”

“Photonics is more fun than electronics.”

“Super! The show brings physics to life! That’s what I enjoy, thank you very much!”

“Very nice, well demonstrated and I’ve learned a lot. I think that’s the most important!”


In the framework of the International Year of Light 2015 and the European project GoPhoton! the B-PHOT group of the VUB not only organized three exciting science shows, but also a Girls&Boys congress. During this congress, 90 students who attended the science show in the morning, followed interesting workshops about light in the afternoon.  They could choose from the following topical themes: light painting, laser lab visit, 3D hologram with smartphone, solar boat race, optical communication, light labyrinth, apps and magical tricks with light,  and art with polarization ( under guidance of an artist from London).

The students especially enjoyed the hands-on experiments.


More than 240 000 visitors for exhibition “Discover the power of light!”


By proclaiming 2015 as the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies, UNESCO recognizes the importance of light technology as a source of sustainable development and scientific innovation. In this framework, the Brussels Photonics Team (B-PHOT) of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Belgium’s national contact point for IYL 2015 and partner in the European outreach project GoPhoton!, has taken several initiatives to create awareness about photonics. One of the examples is the exhibition ‘ID#2015: Discover the power of Light!’ in Brussels, Belgium.


This informative, visual and lively experience-exhibition, located in the nation’s illustrious national monument the Atomium, spreads the positive message of durable light technology for a better world. The exhibition immerses the visitors in the fascinating world of light phenomenon and light technology. In different areas in the Atomium the visitors learn how important light is in present-day life through a total light experience supplemented with sound, 3D effects and optical illusions.


news exh mosaic 1  


Since the beginning of June we have already welcomed more than 240,000 visitors. Until 18 October 2015, the temporary exhibition in the Atomium is dedicated to the power of light!





Teachers are always looking for challenging and interesting activities for their students. B-PHOT responds well to these questions. For example, we are organising several workshops in the Atomium in combination with a guided tour in the exhibition. During five Mondays in September and October, we will welcome nearly 200 pupils and immerse them in the mysteries of polarization, light communication, interference and light painting.


news exh mosaic 2 


VUB’s science show about photonics brings 1500 students to the campus

Also B-PHOT’s science show ‘Photonics, the technology of light’ is already fully booked. On 26-27 October more than 1,500 students will be introduced to solar energy, lenses, the creation of light and much more. B-PHOT will also organize a Girls&Boys congress for the first time. During this congress, many young people will make solar boats or art with polarization, visit labs or learn to work with the apps of GoPhoton!


 In B-PHOT, VUB, we clearly believe in investment in outreach to benefit the world of Photonics!

news exh mosaic 3

Long Night of Sciences

About 26500 visitors came to the Long Night of Sciences in Berlin at the Science and technology Park Berlin-Adlershof. This event was held for the 8th time. In 2015, the international year of light lots of activities were focused on photonics.


FBH as photonics institute informed more than 550 visitors about the fascination of light and innovation in science and technology but also about training and career opportunities.


For more information: http://www.adlershof.de/news/das-war-die-15-lange-nacht-der-wissenschaften-in-berlin-adlershof/ and 


FBH_LangeNacht_2015 088

Vocatium – Education Fair with a unique concept

FBH presented in close cooperation with OpTecBB, the local vocational school and two other companies training opportunities and career prospects in photonics at the vocatium.

This education fair has been organized by The IfT Institut für Talententwicklung for 14 years in several regions of Germany. The student fairs take place under the patronage of Germany’s Federal Minister of Education and further renowned institutions are partners.

The fairs bring together institutions of higher education, vocational schools and companies with motivated students (between 15 and 18 years of age) who are interested in an apprenticeship. At this year’s vocatium in Berlin about 10.000 young people received versatile information and counselling.


For more information: http://www.erfolg-im-beruf.de/386.html

No image

IC and ICFO at the “Lates” in the Science Museum of London

The ‘Lates’ are monthly events put on by the Science Museum. On the 27th of May the Science Museum held the Light Late which  was dedicated to light in all its facets.


Representing Imperial College was the GoPhoton! team displaying the GoPhoton! posters and two art works by Vinita Khanna which were made to demonstrate the curious invisible quality of polarized light.


There were at least four hundred people who visited our stand  and actively took part in the demonstration. Many commented that it was the ‘best thing at the event’.  We had two PHD students from Imperial College and Professor Martin McCall explaining the science of Polarization. The interactive pieces made from transparent birefringent material revealed well know works of art when viewed through a polarized film. This led to people asking great deal of questions about the nature of light and going away truly having learnt something new. 


ICFO also participated; Dr. Marta García-Matos, from ICFO’s KTT unit, along with the artist Andrew Chappel, participated in this initiative by giving a talk entitled “May the Force be with you”.


During the first part of their conference, Chappel captivated a very enthusiastic audience with an overview of his artwork in which he imagined light being so powerful that it is capable of pushing robust objects. Subsequently, Marta García-Matos unveiled the scientific reality behind the force of light and its power to trap and move objects (not exactly like Chappel’s art portrays, but very tiny objects, such as individual molecules) based on the laws of physics that determine light-matter interactions. 




GoPhoton! Splash London Imperial College

The GoPhoton! campaign was in full swing at Imperial College last week for three whole days of talks, live entertainment and science demonstrations.
A LIGHTtalk entitled “The Future’s Bright – Lighting up Photonics in the UK” took place on the Friday, and included delegates from the Photonics industry, from Academia and post graduate students.  Sessions devoted to ‘Photonics in established Industries’, ‘Spinning out Photonics Technologies out of UK Universities’ and ‘Roadmap for UK Photonics – What Next?’ made this very successful and stimulating day for all. A trade exhibition representing the Aerospace Industry, Lasers, Publishing and Doctoral Training provided specific careers opportunities.

The weekend saw a fantastic ‘Light Zone’ within the Imperial Festival attract over two thousand visitors.  Several interactive and magical demonstrations topped off with a dazzling show on the Saturday evening enthused the general public about the wonders of light – from solar energy to the iridescence of beetles.
Light Painting was led by the ICFO team, while the exhibition of GoPhoton! posters provided the backdrop for the team from NUIG to demonstrate the Photonics Apps. An artwork demonstrating the surprise of seeing a famous painting under polarised light complemented a stall giving demonstrations on circular polarization.  Solar Cells were illustrated through a Lego animation, and the use of lasers, from a microscope to popping balloons, kept everyone enthralled.  
Our finale was the  GoPhoton! show in which a science  rapper,  a laser harpist and a specially choreographed routine – ‘The Maxwell Hip-Hop’ –  had a public audience of 400 totally engaged for a  full forty five minutes.
All of the activities proved very popular and we had our hands full with an endless stream of visitors all day both days.

EYEST teams up with 10 new local associated partners

In the framework of LIGHT2015 EYEST organised a trainers workshop on 19th March 2015.


To further successfully leverage the Europe-wide distribution of the photonics explorer EYEST is currently identifying 10 new local associated partners (LAPs) from various regions of Europe. LAPs support EYEST in identifying potential sponsors for the secondary school intra-curricular educational kit, in distributing the kit to local schools, and in training the teachers on how to use the kit in an optimal way in the classroom. 


Supported by the EU project LIGHT2015 EYEST therefore organized a first Photonics Explorer Trainers Workshop on 19/03/2015.


And also NUI Galway and ICFO Spain, our partners in GOPHOTON, participated this training.


13 persons from 7 different countries (Ireland, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Finland and Germany) participated in this ‘training for trainers’ session where they received practical information about the kit and its content and best-practices on how to organize a training session for teachers. In addition all participants enjoyed a variety of hands-on experiments with components from the kit. Soon these newly trained local associated partners will transfer their newly acquainted skills to teachers and start distributing photonics explorer kits in their regions. As such Sean O’Gorman from National University of Ireland will train more than a 100 teachers in the coming months and Joseba Zubia and Gaizka Durana from the University of the Basque Country will train next week the first teachers in the Bilbao region.



IMG_0597 (Medium)