Tag der Offener Tür 2017

On June 24th 2017, several institutions from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, got together in the north campus from 10 AM to share their work with the people of Karlsruhe in an event named “Day of the open door” or Tag der Offener Tür.

Ocurring right next to a marathon, many visitors joined to see the optical experiments explained by the students, with an added note that we spoke at least 8 languages to explain the optical phenomena presented in the booth.


Throughout the morning, many children came to the booth to play around with the experiments, being the diffraction grating glasses the most outstandingly interesting to many, as many options to understand the phenomenon were presented.


The event was supported by OSKar members well past the afternoon, when the lighting conditions were not appropriate to do the optical demonstrations.


Dr. John Degnan on LIDAR altimetry single-photon measurements

On June 12 2016, Dr. John Degnan delighted the students of the Karlsruhe School of Optics and Photonics and the physics department of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology with a talk about altimetry and measurement techniques using lasers in what is known as 3D LIDAR imaging. The evening kicked off with some ice-breaking coffee session where some students were able to talk to each other and catch up with the pace of the lectures in the summer semester, and discuss with some of the senior students about prospects after graduation, specialization lectures and many other topics.
A few minutes after six, Dr. Degnan kicked off his presentation with some discussion about the theoretical background of LIDAR technology, as well as the historical reference on measurements of altimetry and the historical developments in which Dr. Degnan participated. After the talk, some students had a chance to go deeper into the topic of LIDAR and possible future cooperations and research opportunities.


The discussion was accompanied with  some refreshments and a big Brezel sandwich.



High Power Fiber Lasers by Dr. Eilenberger

On May 18th OSKar had the privilege to host once again Dr. Falk Eilenberger of the Fraunhofer IOF institute in Jena, to talk about high power lasers, their design constraints and some future applications answering the question “so, how far in power can we go this time?”


The talk was mostly focused on fiber lasers, and covered everything from the basics of fiber lasers design and characterization, as well as some interesting applications for ultra-short pulse generation and high-power applications.


The questions and answer session posed some interesting perspectives from the students, curious to understand the underlying phenomena which was wonderfully explained by Dr. Eilenberger. The discussion was then shifted to the evening mixer where the conversation was continued by many of the students, as well as some former board members and OSKar participants that joined the talk.


Five generations of OSKar members together

Girls’ Day 2017

Participation of women in STEM is incredibly important and one of the main foci of our student chapter as we have pointed out before, since the percentage of women in these areas is incredibly low.

In cooperation with the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, OSKar participated in Girls’ Day at KIT, an event around the idea of bringing young girls closer to science and technology, by making it appealing and fun, instead of the idea that science must be stiff, rigorous, and let’s not lie to ourselves, even boring.


Starting at 11AM, OSKar had a chance to explain what is optics and photonics, which is highly misunderstood by the general public: “So, you make spectacles, right?”. Well, no, not really. Optics is everything. Optics is light. Optics is everywhere.

The group was split in two groups: While most experiments are demonstrative and require some interaction from the attendees, some direction was provided by the OSKar members, by showing the principle and then allowing the girls to go on with their creativity.


After a brief lunch, the groups were switched around to allow all girls to experience the full experiment set, and then let the girls choose their favorite to continue toying around with new ways of seeing the experiment. Many of the girls also took colorful selfies using various light sources, as well as our female members who took a few pictures with interesting optical artifacts from light sources in the room.


The experiments will be refreshed for the following interactive sessions, with what the group has learned from sharing the experiments with young girls who gave us an interesting perspective on what would also be interesting to show young prospect scientist in the future.


Women in optics

The average participation of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in Europe is 17%.  There is a substantial gap of women and men occupation in STEM, for several reasons. Some sources point out it is due to lack of role models, few options for practical experience and lack of mentorship.

OSKar has been involved since 2016 in several outreach projects to reach out for younger generations to get interested in optics, and this year, much of the focus is on getting the interest of young women and girls in optics.

On international women’s day, our vicepresident, Isabel Allegro, got together in an informal meeting with Elena, Virajini and Diana to talk about optics, life and everything in between, in Karlsruhe. As always, great ideas come to the table to implement during 2017.


OSKar will be involved in Girls’ Day, promoting interest in optics for young girls with fun activities and interactive experiments that show that optics are a great area to develop a career in. Isabel will be present, along with her colleagues, to give positive role models for girls who might be interested in optics but were not aware of it before!


OSKar is interested in promoting optics to the general population, but as a multicultural group of students, we are also interested in promoting women in STEM, and working in an open and egalatarian scientific community.