Andrea Blanco-Redondo: an OSA Ambassador visit us

Today, 24th of July, Dr. Andrea Blanco Redondo visited us from Australia!! She came to the Institute of Optics and lot of interested people attended her seminary.

In the first part of she explained us who her career started  and gave us an overview of her journey in photonics research. Then, she explained her actual field of research: nonlinear and topological nanophotonics, including the experimental discovery of a new type of soliton and a route to robust entangled photonic states. Finally, Andre focused on giving professional development tips for us, students and young researchers, including different OSA programs and opportunities.

Then, we ate all the chapter members with her. Lot of croquetas and Spanish omelette for everybody!!!!!

At the end of the day, Andrea shared a coffee with assistants to #WomeninOpticsCSIC monthly coffee, where we talked about different situations that we have lived and who to react when gender inequality is questioned.


We think that it was a really complete experience and we really enjoy time with Andrea!

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Prof. Vijay Janyani’s visit

Last 25th June, IOSA hosted Prof. Vijay Janyani, who came from India.

He gave us a speech about where is his University and how his country is. After learn a little more about India, he explained us about his field of research: solar cells. We could know about new technologies on this topic, like flexible and transparent solar cells.

After that, we shared a nice lunch all together so we had the opportunity to talk and know each other better.

Following, you can see photos from that great day!

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On May 2th IOSA joined once again the outreach activities promoted by Ciudad Ciencia, a project organized by the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and Obra Social “La Caixa”, which objective is to bring researchers in small towns far from large urban areas and universities/research centers, so that their inhabitants can experience first-hand science and technology with experts in different fields.

IOSA members Diego, Francesca and Juan Luis traveled to Mota del Cuervo (Cuenca) to bring our “Discovering light” workshops. The town has around 6000 inhabitants, is located in the middle of the region of Castilla-La Mancha (the land of Don Quixote) and is famous for its windmills.

We conducted the activity in the town public library, where we were warmly welcomed by the librarians who are in charge of the local organization. After showing basic principles as reflection and refraction, the attendees had the opportunity to learn about ray tracing & visual optics, fluorescence & phosphorescence and optical fibers & communications. In the morning we had about 90 kids from middle and high school and in the afternoon we opened the workshops to general public (we had especially a group of very nice and curious ladies from the library reading club).

Everyone enjoyed the workshops and the feedback was very good.

Here some local news talking about the workshops:

We are already waiting for the next activity with Ciudad Ciencia!

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Last Friday, April 20th, we had the pleasure of doing an outreach activity in support of HACKATHON GETAFE (Getafe, Madrid), which had an important topic: ‘Design of technological solutions to improve day-to-day life of people with disabilities’.

While the contestants participated in the HACKATON, thinking about technological solutions to the problems raised in the forum, relatives and visitors roamed around the other workshops (among which IOSA’s) located in the venue, some with simultaneous translation in sign language.

In the big bright space of a former market, we decided to present our Ray Tracing & Vision and Optical Communications workshops.

Attendees have been especially curious about refractive errors (myopia, hyperopia) and understanding why people wear glasses, considering most of them wore glasses.  But after the explanation, they were very satisfied having understood the basic principles of visual optics.

In the optical communications workshops, we woke up the interest especially of kids, keen in discovering the ‘mystery’ of how light can transport information and realizing how fibre optics are convenient, to listen to music or the audio of their favourite cartoon.

It has been a good experience for IOSA, participating in this kind of event gave us a different perspective and helped/trained us in being able to explain the same concepts in a lot of different ways.

We hope to participate in similar events again soon. 👏👏👏

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Colloquium with Arthur Bradly

Arthur Bradley, an important researcher in visual optics, was in Madrid last weekend and he took in advance of that to visit VioBio laboratories.

After a talk about his work, IOSA member had the opportunity to talk with him. It was a very nice time because we touch different interesting topics: the differences between Optometry in EEUU and in Europe (how long are the studies and what kind of skills optometrists have), how important is a chapter to meet people and create a community, how is a PhD defense in UUEE …

We hope to see him again on another occasion!!!


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Course of introduction to research in optics

As every year, the course of introduction to research in optics was held at the Optics Institute past 5th and 6th.  In this course, students from all over Spain come to visit the laboratories of the Institute and to know the kind of research we do here.

IOSA members could took with students about what is a student chapter, all activities that we do and also about scientific career. We have lot of members and with different kind of financing and we could share our experience with them. We think it was really useful for all of them!! And maybe we will see any of them working in the Institute in the future…

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Aula is a huge exhibition about the possibilities of study after the bachelor and that takes place every year in Madrid. This year, IOSA was invited to AULA on 2nd of March and we share a stand whit the slogan ¡Engánchate a la Ciencia! (get hooked on science in English).

There, we could know that teenagers that have to decide this year what they want to study in the future and we showed how sexy optics are. We carried out 2 different workshops: ray-tracing and fiber optics.

Also, we knew lot of teachers of high school really interested on experiments for their classes.

It was a great experience!

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Last February 10th Sara and Francesca brought IOSA experience to the kids of PEAC (Educational Enrichment Program for Students with High Abilities) Madrid Sur, in Leganés (Madrid). The 12-13 years old students had the possibility to discover firsthand how optical communications and fluorescence work. They were excited to understand how lasers and fibre optics function and had fun learning about the different kinds of luminescence and where we can see them in nature or in artificial substances.

Finally we made a presentation in occasion of the International Day of Girls and Women in Science. They discovered that, beside well know Marie Curie, there have been and there are a lot more of female scientists doing amazing things and that science can be interesting and fun for everyone.

You can read the school report (in Spanish) here:


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Tajamar school

Last 22nd of February, IOSA went to Tajamar school.

Merche, Victor and Ana explained the following workshops: ray tracing, fluorescence and water and optics to children of 5 and 6 years old. All of them were very attentive and surprised of what the light is capable to do in different environments. We finished the workshops with the fluorescent blanket, in which they liked to look their shadows after projecting it with ultraviolet light.

They learnt and enjoyed it a lot!

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IOSA’s Women’s Month STEM Activity for Girl Scouts

Las Friday, 9th of March, came to visit us Girl Scouts from Madrid with an activity called “IOSA’s Women’s Month STEM Activity for Girl Scouts” with the occasion that the previous day, 8th of March, was the International Day of Women.

A total of 29 girls could participate on several workshops and visit some laboratories on the Instituto de Óptica. The recived a passport at the beginning of the activity and they got a stamp on each workshop that they did.

Andrés explained them raytracing workshop, Franscesca showed them who fiber optics work, Geethika presented some examples of fluorescence and phosphorescence and Shrilekha talk about color.

Downstairs, James and Sara explained in the laboratories the work that they do in the Instituto de Óptica: James works with microscopy and Sara with Adaptive Optics. Really big and cool optic tables full of lenses and mirror used for two very different applications!!

In between workshops and laboratories, girls could experiment with balls that have the same refractive index than water, so they were invisible inside water!!!!

Also Ana, Juan Luis, Xoana and Clara where there to help all groups rotate, take photos, etc.

At the end of the visit, we talked about important women in the history of science and also some important scientific women nowadays. The take home message: YOU CAN BE WHATEVER YOU WANT!!!!!

Also, we want to thaks Girl Scouts, becouse they mount this amazing video:

We hope to had fun and see you again the next!

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