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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Ciencia es femenino

Ciencia es femenino is the event that IOSA organized on the occasion of the International Day of Woman and girls in Science. We wanted to talk about who is the situation of women in science, starting with who children, the future of the society, think that a person who work on science is. For that, we contacted with the teacher of a school that IOSA will visit next month, CEIP El Vellón. They sent us 34 for pictures, really funny and interesting, but in only 9 of them appear women. These are the pictures:

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We invite some interesting women to talk about the absence of the women in Science that children:

  • Mª Jesús del Río Alcalde is the chief of the president office and she explain us differences between girls and boys in a pre-university period.
  • Pilar López Sancho, form Comisión de Mujeres del CSIC, told us about numbers of women in science, and in CSIC specifically.
  • Juana Bellanato Fontecha, who used to be professor at CSIC, remember her experience since she started the scientific carrier on 40’s.
  • Mª Luisa Calvo Padilla could provide us her point of view as professor at Universidad Complutense de Madrid.
  • Susana Marcos talk about her experience as a woman in science.

Mª Jasús del Río Alcade explaning us about pre-university period

Pilar López Sancho talking about numbers in CSIC

Also we could talk about different topics, such as the representation of women on textbooks, the importance of having references and good teachers. We knew some studies about the perception of girls and boys about themselves and some survey about the time that women and men spend looking after others.

There was an enthusiastic public that made lot of questions and share their opinion and experiences.

At the end, we could eat some sandwich to continue talking and meeting us and we could observe all pictures more relaxed:

Thank you so much to everybody for coming and see you next time!

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International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Next 11th of February is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

For this reason, IOSA is organizing “CIENCIA ES FEMENINO”, a round table on 15th of February where we will learn about several initiatives that are being carried out. Also we will debate about different topics related to Women in Science in order to make us think both men and women.

For this round table we will count with extraordinary women: Juana Bellanato, Mª Luisa Calvo, Susana Marcos, Mª Jesús del Río, Pilar López Sancho and María Viñas

Save the date!!! 15th February 2018, 11:00h, Instituto de Química Física Rocasolano

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