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  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: June 2012

Appendix B - Lecture demonstrations in Fourier optics

Summary

Optics is the ideal subject for lecture demonstrations. Not only is the output of an optical experiment usually visible (and today, with the aid of closed circuit video, can be projected for the benefit of large audiences), but often the type of idea being put across can be made clear pictorially, without measurement and analysis being required. Recently, several institutes have cashed in on this, and offer for sale video films of optical experiments carried out under ideal conditions, done with equipment considerably better than that available to the average lecturer. Although such films have some place in the lecture room, we firmly believe that students learn far more from seeing real experiments carried out by a live lecturer, with whom they can interact personally, and from whom they can sense the difficulty and limitations of what may otherwise seem to be trivial experiments. Even the lecturer's failure in a demonstration, followed by advice and help from the audience which result in ultimate success, is bound to imprint on the student's memory far more than any video film can do.

The purpose of this appendix is to transmit a few ideas that we have, during the years, found particularly valuable in demonstrating the material covered in this book, and can be prepared with relatively cheap and easily available equipment. Need we say that we also enjoyed developing and performing these experiments?