Science, Optics, and You

Need a new perspective on things? Visit the Molecular Expressions site, click on the “Science, Optics, and You” link, and view the Milky Way at 10 million light years from the Earth. Then, move through space toward the Earth in successive orders of magnitude until you reach a tall oak tree just outside the buildings of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Fla. After that, try moving from the actual size of a leaf into a microscopic world that reveals leaf cell walls, the cell nucleus, chromatin, DNA and, finally, the subatomic universe of electrons and protons. The site is about optics, or the physical science that studies the origin and propagation of light, how it changes, what effects it produces and other phenomena associated with it. Although fun for anyone, it’s an especially good resource for teachers in that it offers student activities and an optics timeline.