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Aubree H of USA;Georgia asks...

what kind of equipment do you use to study light?

There are many different research activities that relate to the study of light and how light interacts with matter. And depending on which activity you work on, the instruments you use are going to vary. I like to build lasers and I use, for example, cameras to acquire images of the laser beam so I can properly measure how the beam looks like (the size, how the energy is distributed across the beam, etc). I also use something called a spectrometer, which is something similar to a prism (in fact, a prism may be part of a spectrometer), and allows me to study which colors my laser is made of. In the lab we use many other instruments, and somtimes we have to build our own instruments because we want to measure something that has not been measured before, so the instrument that we need does not yet exist.

Federico Furch, Germany, 2018 OSA Ambassador
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Damien g of Georgia asks...

is it hard to be a scientist

Being a scientist is about having a passion for the understanding and development of science. When you have a passion for a subject you are driven to succeed and in that sense being a scientist is not difficult. It is important to identify where your passion lies.

Yaseera Ismail, South Africa, 2018 OSA Ambassador
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Oliver H of Mexico;Mexico(Estadode) asks...

Why is optics important

Optics is important as it provides an understanding of light and its uses. Optics can be explained by either physical optics or geometrical optics. Physical optics deals with the nature of light and its properties. Geometrical optics is the study of the path that is travelled by a ray of light in reflection, transmission and refraction. Optical instruments that you can relate to are telescopes, glasses, microscopes and fibre optics. We make use of optics daily in laser printers, cameras and communication just to name a few.

Yaseera Ismail, South Africa, 2018 OSA Ambassador
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Kaitlyn C of USA;Florida asks...

How do optical illusions look like both of the images? How do you see both things??

This question iparticularly interesting because it combines both the fields of optics andcognitive science. Our brains are constantly guessing what we're looking at and trying to match it to something we recognize as an object. With these kinds of optical illusions, our brains are matching the image to multiple things it recognizes and can't decide what it is really looking at! This is a phenomenon called multistable perception.

Dan Christensen, USA, 2018 OSA Ambassador
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kandy V of Azerbaijan asks...

How hot is the sun????

The Sun's core is about 27 million degrees Fahrenheit (15 million degrees Celsius).

The Sun is the largest and most massive object in the solar system. If the Sun were as tall as a typical front door, Earth would be about the size of a nickel.

It is about 93 million miles (149.5 million km) from Earth. That distance is called an astronomical unit, or 1 AU, and is used to measure distances throughout the solar system. The Sun's light and heat takes about eight minutes to reach us, which leads to another way to state the distance to the sun: 8 light-minutes.

The Sun is the center of our solar system and makes up 99.8 percent of the mass of the entire solar system.

Dr. Jelena Pesic OSA Ambassador Research Engineer, Bell Labs, NOKIA
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David F of USA;Massachusetts asks...

How come in the demonstration with the water the question asks "Are the arrows going the same way" and if you look at the answer it says "No" why is this there it is actually wrong because if you move the glass the arrows are going the same way.

Thank you for your question as it caused a lively debate amongst the scientists. It really comes down to how you view the glass so we have updated the illusion to have a clearer question and we also changed the answer!

Dan Christensen, USA, 2018 OSA Ambassador
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kendra a of Georgia asks...

Is it fun being a scientist

Doing science as a job is like any other job or profession, in the sense that one has responsibilities, things that from time to time might stress you out, or that you don't like.

However, there is in my opinion something quite unique about being a scientist: You are all the time doing new things. You spend your time thinking about ideas that nobody thought of before, or inventing new devices and machines that can do things that were impossible before. In a sense, you are shaping the future and that is super exciting and fun.

Federico Furch, Germany, 2018 OSA Ambassador
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