HiLASE Centre at the 2024 Science Fair

This year’s Science Fair nearly doubled the current attendance record and HiLASE Centre could not miss it. HiLASIANS at PVA EXPO Letňany brought the world of lasers and optics closer to a total of 58 thousand visitors through interactive exhibits and experiments. Our laser maze has become a traditional part of the fair.

On Thursday the 30th and Friday the 31st of May, we welcomed mainly whole classes of students, from the youngest researchers to high schoolers. On Saturday, the 1st of June, thanks to Children’s Day and drizzly weather, the PVA EXPO halls were bursting at the seams, filled with families with children excited about science. In addition to physics, visitors were able to explore interactive exhibits in a wide range of science fields – from engineering to social sciences.

In the HiLASE Centre section of the Institute of Physics stand, we have prepared a model of the record-breaking BIVOJ, a laser system from our laboratories. In the optical laboratory, even the youngest scientists could discover fascinating physical phenomena such as the refraction of light or the decomposition of white light into its coloured components. Hundreds of secret agents passed through the laser maze again this year. A novelty we prepared for this year’s fair was a model of the laser’s operation, simulating its pumping and the formation of the beam in an optical resonator. Specifically, it shows the origin of the laser from the energy source, which on the model is a tank of water, and the optical resonator composed of mirrors and an active medium. The resonator is designed to amplify and direct the energy delivered from the source. The energy (water) is pumped from the source (tank) to the resonator (hinged tank). In the resonator, this energy is amplified and then emitted (the tank tips over).

“I am delighted that the interactive laser model has received so much attention from visitors. The older ones are interested in how the laser beam is created, and the little ones enjoy the fact that they can play with water and stay (more or less) dry,” says Jan Heřmánek, head of the HiLASE Centre design team, who led the preparation of the model.

On the first day of the fair, the HiLASE Centre was also represented in the programme at Science Point. Petr Hauschwitz, head of the Laser Micromachining (LMM) team, spoke as part of the Science Stop at the Fair, which presented young promising scientists and their achievements.

In addition to the HiLASE Centre section, the Institute of Physics booth offered many other interactive activities, from a levitating train to a black hole simulation.

Didn’t have time to visit us at the Science Fair, or want to learn even more about lasers and optics? Later this year, we are preparing an open day for you on the occasion of Researchers’ Night.