Dr. Linda J. Olafsen Awarded SPIE Educational GrantSept. 17, 2010
A physics professor in the College of Arts and Sciences has been awarded an educational grant from the Society of Photo-optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). It marks the first time the university has received a grant from the organization. Dr. Linda Olafsen, associate professor of physics at Baylor, will use the grant to educate local middle and high school students about the research enabled by lasers as well as celebrate the 50th anniversary of the laser. Olafsen said she wants to focus on teaching the history of the laser and how lasers are used in technology. "We are going to buy laser pointers and optics kits for the kids and show them how lasers are used in technology," Olafsen said. "Lasers are involved in a lot of things you don't realize in everyday life. They are a good example of how scientists do basic research that lead to discoveries that can improve our quality of life." The schools that will be participating have not been decided yet, however several Waco area school districts are being taken into consideration. Applications for the grant were judged on their potential to impact students and increase photonics and optics awareness. Baylor was one of 19 schools or organizations selected to receive a grant. SPIE is an international society created to advance and bring awareness to light-based technology. The organization sponsors educational programs, exhibitions and forums annually, as well as awarding grant money to advance photonics education.