March Meeting – Seeing Optics Everywhere

I spent only part of Day 4 at the meeting in Baltimore.  After some sessions in the morning, I got to tour some of the Johns Hopkins engineering facilities and hear more about the research that Elliot Wainwright is doing there.

Then I took the train down to Washington DC in the afternoon so that I could see an art exhibit I really wanted to catch, and also have dinner with my sister.

Both my walk in to the meeting and the art exhibit reminded me how amazing physics (especially optics) are all around us, if we just take the time to notice.

Reflection in the Harbor

As I crossed one of the bridges connecting the piers at the Inner Harbor, I noticed the reflection of a building in the water.  Waves of light, waves of water — loads of physics.

Gabriel Dawe’s Plexus A1

The exhibit I traveled to DC to see is the Wonder exhibit at the Renwick Gallery.  I was drawn there to see Gabriel Dawe’s Plexus A1, but all nine exhibits were amazing.  In terms of optics, I was especially drawn to the dots of light that were created under each marble in Maya Lin’s installation Folding the Chesapeake. For the marbles on the wall, the light almost looks like another marble below the physical marbles.

A portion of Maya Lin’s Folding the Chesapeake

Detail of Folding the Chesapeake

Effects like this are why I love physics so much.  It makes me notice the world  around me so much more.