Public Engagement Leader, 2003-Present day, University of Southampton. UK.

Sample Photonics Outreach Activities include:

2003-Present Light Express Show Co-ordination www.lightexpress.soton.ac.uk.

The Light Express Roadshow is the flagship of the Outreach and Public Engagement Program for Physics and Astronomy at the University of Southampton. John manages a team of award-      winning dedicated Post Graduate students and academic staff members of the Quantum Light and Matter Group in Physics and Astronomy, and the Optoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Southampton. 

The Light Express Roadshow Photo by Sam Berry

2018 The Photon Shop

This University of Southampton pop-up shop, conceived by John, was open for three days as part of the Light Up Poole! Digital Arts festival, and contained five different hands-on activities run by researchers in Optical Engineering from the ORC, Astrophysics and  Chemistry.  More information can be found at www.southampton.ac.uk/physics.

2017-2019 Phablabs 4:0 PI. www.phablabs.eu.

John was the Principle Investigator on this grant and introduced Holography into EU FAB Labs (community workshops) as part of this activity.

Hologram produced in the Holography Challenger Project Photo by Kasia Grabska

2015-2017 Photonics4All. www.photonics4all.eu P.I.

John was the Principle Investigator on this grant to promote photonics to young people, entrepreneurs and the general public across the EU. Photonics4All developed a set of new promotional tools (bookmarks, quizzes, games, App, and books) and applied them during a wide variety of outreach activities with different audiences.  The ‘Children’s University Day’ is shown below, which gave 120 visiting students hands-on activities and experiences with photonics.

Photonics Day, Photo credit: University of Southampton
Towards Best Practice in Photonics Outreach Booklets for Schools, The General Public and Entrepreneurs (written contribution and editing by P.John)

1998 – 2003   Laser Technology Instructor Columbia Career Center, Columbia, Missouri, USA.

The Columbia Area Career Center ran the world’s first three year Photonics Program for High School students from 1998 to 2018.  The 3-year program included the following year-long modules: Introduction to Laser Technology, Photonics 1 and Photonics 2. The course was designed to teach students the basic skills needed to become a laser technician. There was a skills shortage in Missouri and this activity helped to solve the lack of laser technicians in the area.

John helped develop the curriculum of all three classes within the Photonics Program with consultant Neal Miller and Co-Instructor Richard Shanks. The year-long “Introduction to Laser technology” course was aimed at 16-year-olds, ran every other day for one and a half hours and included the following activities: laser safety, basic and advanced holography, laser light sculpture, laser manufacturing, lasers and telecommunications, lasers and medical applications, and laser light show design.

Modules: Basic and Advanced Holography

Working in teams, students designed master and transfer holography camera set-ups to enable them to create laser transmission masters and reflection transfer holograms.  The module designed by John and taught the students the following skills in line with the USA National Photonics Skills for Laser Technicians:  Laser safety, naming of photonics components, handling and cleaning optics, design of advanced holography camera system, team work skills, and written and verbal communication skills between different teams.

Students making and exhibiting their holograms, C. Couey, B. Young and R.Terwelp, 2002.
Reflection hologram, 2.5″ x 2.5″ C. Guidry, 2002.
Reflection hologram, 2.5″ x 2.5″, N. Tesfamikael 2002.

Light Installation Module: A Bridge between Art and Science

Working in teams, students designed and built bridges made out of light during this 3 week-long module designed by John for the 15 year-old pupils.  Students worked with 15, red low-powered Helium Neon Lasers and a blue Argon Laser to create art installations for visiting audiences. The large classroom was turned into a theatrical stage during the activity.  Students attached mirrors to the ceilings, floors and tables, hazing up the room to safely exhibit their installations to visitors. Some students created a large Tyndall’s demonstration pumping water to the top of a scaffold to enable the blue argon beam to travel down a stream of water from the ceiling to the floor; the entire height of the classroom, other teams used fluorescent string and UV light to enhance their structures. The module taught the students the following skills; laser safety, team work, problem solving, design, creative visualization and marketing.

Light Bridge: Planning, 2000
Light Bridge: Display, 2001

Light Bridge: Display, 2001
Light Bridge: construction 2001

Outreach: Saturday Science

The Year 10 students in the Laser Technology program assisted with various outreach projects during their studies.  Saturday Science, aimed to encourage more girls and minority students into the fields of optics and science. During the project 14 year-old pupils made over 100 holograms during three Saturdays in March. 

1996-1997 Artist-in-Residence Maria Fidelis School, London, UK. 

The Arts of the East:Holography and the Mandala

The “Holography and the Mandala” project, based on issues of developing self-identify took place at Maria Fidelis School in North London with groups of Year 8 students and AS Arts Students.  Holograms were made from personal symbols and were encircled by photographs of friends and family, photocopies of precious objects and patterns produced from observational drawings of the students’ homes.

The project was about getting to know where one is and who you are as an individual.” Year 11 participant.

The completed mandalas were shown in the school in an exhibition called “Great Cultures of the East,” which was opened by the Filipino Ambassador to Great Britain.

Mandala Collages, mixed media with Reflection Holograms, 3’ x 3’, Maria Fidelis Students. Installation view of the ‘Great Cultures of the East’ Exhibition, Maria Fidelis, London, UK. 1996.

1994-1995     Community Arts Worker, Cartwheel Community Arts.  “Out of the Red” Project.

Cartwheel Community Arts was a community arts company based in Rochdale, UK.  Cartwheel directed training and arts projects working with groups and individuals, throughout the Northwest of England. 

“Out of the Red” was a creative project based on how people manage their money.  The project consisted of a traveling exhibition and performances created by over two hundred people – students, adults and elders of the community.  The exhibition and performances consisted of video, sound, photography, holography and writing developed during workshops in the spring of 1994.

John worked with students producing holograms and photographs for the travelling exhibition.  Six animated reflection holograms were also produced based on themes which had emerged during the project.  The holograms depicted money changing hands, piles of coins rising and falling, money being put into a piggy bank, coins being placed in a purse and a coin being tossed.

“Out of the Red” Installation view of six 8″ x 10″ Reflection stereograms holograms.
Coins Detail of 8″ x 10″ reflection stereogram. Piles of Coins rise and fall as the viewer passes the hologram. P.John, 1994.
Installation view with video. “Out of the Red” Exhibition – The PumpHouse People’s History Museum. Manchester.