WPI - Ultrafast Phenomena and Terahertz Physics Laboratory

Prof. Lyubov Titova

Summer 2015

Girls Inc. Rocket Science Camp: Lyuba, Ben, Wes and Shanshan Rodriguez worked with a group of around 30 rising high school freshman girls (Girls Inc. Eurika! Vets) from the Worcester area and explored the physics and engineering challenges of water rocket prototyping. We usually started each day with a short lecture on a topic that would assist our rocket scientists in better designing their rockets (pressure/thrust/drag/etc.), and then moved on to design, build and test rockets. The students were provided with a wide array of building materials to test designs for many standard rocket parts such as nose cones, fins, parachutes, crumple zones, as well as many other interesting add-ons (including one request for boxed breakfast cereal). After three days of learning, prototyping, and testing, our teams of rocketeers faced two challenges: an airtime competition and an accuracy competition. The students controlled and refined their launch parameters to get the results they wanted, adjusting the amount of water for the airtime competition or pressure for the accuracy competition. Over the four days we met with the girls, we saw their ideas become more polished and their enthusiasm grow. The final competition was fun for everyone involved and showcased the progress they had made in a short amount of time.

 

Girls Inc. Eureka! is a five-year cohort program for teen girls. Eureka! focuses on STEM, leadership, health and fitness, college-readiness, and career-readiness. Girls Inc. Eureka! is about building confidence and skills, meeting new life-long friends, and discovering new and amazing things!

 

Plans for Summer 2016 and IQP opportunity for WPI undergraduate students

During 2015-2016 school year, we will be working with Girls Inc. of Worcester to develop and plan new summer programs for Eureka! Rookies (rising 8th graders) and Eureka! Vets (rising high school freshmen). The new programs will introduce the girls to light and optics, teach them about lasers, microscopes and telescopes. Prof. Titova is looking for a team of 3-4 students who are ready for the challenge! Interested students should e-mail Prof. Titova.

To get you inspired, here's one idea: teaching about optics using Jello! (Jello waveguide and photo by Wesley Belleman).

Women in Science Summer Program: Optics and Light with Professor Lyubov Titova.

As part of the WPI summer program schedule, Lyuba and Ben presented a brief lecture and ran some activities to give an introduction to the types of light you can’t see with just your eyes. Two groups of 5th-6th grades came and participated in our mini-labs, which focused on the detection and application of ultraviolet and infrared light. Using our infrared camera, we showed the girls how temperature can be detected from a distance and how this can be useful for industry and scientific applications (as well as taking some interesting looking group photos).  Also, by making bracelets with UV color changing beads, we demonstrated how different everyday objects can transmit some types of light and block others. At the end of the day, the girls left with a bit of a broader idea of what light is and what it can be used for, as well as making a great way to check if they need sunscreen.

 

Pictures on the right: can you guess which glass has hot water in it, and which glass has cold water? And now watch hot and cold water mix!