The University of Southampton

Shining a spotlight on Southampton research at Light Up Poole digital arts festival

Published: 27 February 2020
University of Southampton Photon Shop team

More than 2,000 members of the public discovered Southampton's pioneering research into the science of light at a South Coast arts festival this week.

Scientists from Physics and Astronomy and the Optoelectronics Research Centre showcased their expertise with a series of demonstrations at Light Up Poole! Digital Arts Festival.

This is the third year the Festival has been held and it aims to promote and encourage learning in science, engineering and technology; driving economic growth and off-season tourism and using light art to reflect Poole's heritage and natural and built environments.

Researchers from the University of Southampton ran a pop-up 'Photon Shop' throughout the popular three-day event which attracted more than 40,000 people.

The Photon Shop featured a collection of stands exhibiting research projects and public engagement activities including:

Light Wave - a demonstration of fibre optics and low-powered lasers that illustrate the importance of photonics in daily life

Aurora Zoo - a citizen science project to classify and better understand different types of aurora and help us understand space weather that can damage satellites

SotonAstroArt - a scheme engaging the general public and artists with dark energy research through a project based on astronomy research techniques in which old photographic plates of the celestial night sky are turned into works of art

Pearl John, Physics and Astronomy Public Engagement Leader, said: "At Southampton, we are carrying out pioneering research into working with light and this digital arts festival is an opportunity to share our work with a wide audience. Taking part in Light Up Poole! provided us with an excellent opportunity to work with people who wouldn't normally visit science fairs or events."

Light Up Poole! is one of a series of outreach and public engagement activities carried out by researchers at the University.

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