A group of budding physicists from Grŵp Llandrillo Menai got the opportunity to carry out a range of experiments on a recent trip to the renowned Photonics Academy of Wales.
Twelve A-level students (six from the Pwllheli campus and six from Dolgellau) visited the Photonics Academy of Wales at Bangor University over two days, where they were given an inspirational talk by Professor Ray Davies, who is the director of the academy.
The students also got the chance to carry out various experiments and delve into some of the 400-plus inventions that have been developed at the academy. Professor Davies defines Photonics as
the manipulation, control and detection of light energy.
Opto-electronics is a huge sector and we are trying to ensure that it continues to thrive and that there is a flow of young people coming through from our schools, colleges and universities. Those who do qualify usually walk straight into jobs.
Professor Davies aims to change teenagers' perceptions that physics - and, by implication, photonics - is a boring subject to be avoided at school and college at all costs. He does this by showing students how to use photonics to create solutions to everyday problems.
We don't always know whether lasers are the best way to do something - but by building a prototype we can find out,
added Professor Davies.
The students were amazed with some of the applications of the devices. The visit left them inspired to integrate what they had learnt into their electronics project work at college.
Dolgellau campus-based student Jac Ison said:
It was a very interesting way to learn something new. I learnt 1+1 is anything between 0 and 4 when applied to photons! I have also learnt that there are lots of applications for the use of physics and electronics.
Classmate Will Payne added:
On the trip I found out a lot of useful information about lasers. The topic really interested me and I feel like I may do something in the future to do with lasers.
Pwllheli campus student, Cyril Jacob, added:
I learnt that I can do a lot of different and amazing stuff with polarised filters and lasers. The most interesting thing was the bank safe vault which used polarised filters at an angle to open the said vault. It definitely made me think about photonics and I won't be surprised if I was to pursue a career in photonics in the future.
For more information about courses at Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor's Pwllheli and Dolgellau campuses, visit www.gllm.ac.uk/courses