Why is the sky blue? Visiting scientist explains natural optical phenomena, May 9

RIT’s SPIE/OSA Student Chapter hosts free event

Follow Susan Gawlowicz on Twitter
Follow RITNEWS on Twitter

The science behind natural optical phenomena—colors in the sky, rainbows, halos, coronas, iridescence, glories, glitter patterns and auroras—will be the topic of a free talk at Rochester Institute of Technology this week.

Joseph Shaw, professor of optics and photonics and electrical and computer engineering at Montana State University, will present “Optics in Nature: A photographic tour,” at 2 p.m. on May 9 in the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science Auditorium. The event is hosted by the RIT International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE)/Optical Society of America (OSA) Student Chapter.

Shaw, a fellow of SPIE and OSA, will use a combination of photographs and optical diagrams to illustrate examples of optical scattering, diffraction, refraction, reflection and emission for a general audience.

He develops optical remote sensing systems to study climate, weather and natural ecosystems. Shaw’s current research uses polarimetric and radiometric imaging and Lidar, or light detection and ranging, which uses laser pulses to measure distances.

For more information, contact the SPIE/OSA student chapter.