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Education & Public Engagement

“Knowledge once gained casts a light beyond its own immediate boundaries” - John Tyndall

IPIC’s Education & Public Engagement (EPE) programme covers Educational Engagement, Public Engagement and Personnel Training. We aim to deliver thought-provoking, exciting and stimulating events and activities. 

IPIC pledge to cast the light of knowledge on the future of photonics to help create an equal and diverse culture around physics, technology and engineering.

What is Photonics?

Photonics is the science and technology of generating, controlling and detecting light. Photonics research uses a part of the Electromagnetic Spectrum, from ultraviolet (UV) light, visible light and infrared (IR) light. This means you can see some photonic technologies with your eyes but other technologies are invisible to the human eye. Photonics can be found in every part of our daily lives from lighting our homes, to medical devices, to communications.

Did You Know? LASER is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. The first laser was demonstrated in May 1960. 

Education Programme

Training the Future of Photonics Researchers

IPIC conduct a range of in-classroom, lab based and virtual interactions. IPIC’s education programme starts from an early age by introducing young students to the wonders of light, leading to highlighting career opportunities and finally giving research experience to undergraduate students.

Playing with Rainbows Workshop

This activity is an interactive workshop for senior infants (4-6 years old) and can be adapted to older age groups (up to 8 years). The workshop aims to stimulate an interest in physics, particularly photonics, through a number of mediums including using everyday objects, to explain basic principles of light.

Unlocking Light Workshop

This activity is an interactive workshop for 8 – 12 year olds. The workshop aims to stimulate an interest in physics, particularly photonics, through a number of mediums including using everyday objects, to explain basic principles of light.

STEM Matters Mini-Mag for Primary Planet

Primary Planet is a free magazine for primary school students in Ireland. We worked with News Mag Media to create a mini-magazine all about photonics!

View here!!

Career Talks

IPIC researchers conduct in-class or virtual talks on their journey to become scientists.

Tyndall & IPIC Internship Programme

The main objective of this programme is to give undergraduate students an immersive research experience to inform them of what a PhD and subsequent research career may involve. Applicants are sought from undergraduate students in all STEM fields from across all universities and institutes of technology in Ireland. Interns work with a world-leading research from IPIC and Tyndall over a 12-week project. In parallel interns are given the opportunity to interact with a development programme which provides a mixture of technical workshops, informational sessions and networking.

“Everything was brilliant. The researchers were very aware of age group and great fun. Thank you.”

TeacherPlaying with Rainbows Activity

“The IPIC programme taught me a lot about research, learning, and STEM career options. It also heightened my interest in pursuing post graduate studies.”

InternTyndall & IPIC Internship Programme

“A super evening. Very informative without being technically difficult. Thank you.”

TeacherSciFest Teacher Training at Tyndall National Institute

“The part I enjoyed most was seeing how diverse the labs are.”

StudentEngineering Your Future Tour at Tyndall National Institute

Did You Know? Fibre optic cables are used to carry information all across the world by sending light signals. There are over 420 under water fibre optic cables in the world stretching 700,000 miles or 1.1 million kilometres.

Public Programme

Bringing Photonics Into Your Everyday

The 2020 Science in Ireland Barometer by Science Foundation Ireland showed that 85% of respondents believe that scientists have a responsibility to share their research findings with the public. As a result IPIC aims to provide engaging activities for the public to get involved in. 


IPIC participate in a number of public festivals every year. This includes Cork Science Festival and Culture Night. 

STEM + Art

We believe art is a great medium to share science. We’ve participated in a number of STEAM exhibitions. Including ‘PRISM: The Art and Science of Light’ at the Glucksman Gallery and ‘Invisible Light’ at the Crawford Gallery.

Gaposchkin Chandelier

Evening Events

IPIC researchers regularly participate in Bright Club and Pint of Science. 

Online Activities

IPIC offer a number of online activities including STEM at Home experiments. Try here.

L-A-S-E-R Video for Cork Discovers 2021

Really enjoyed it, please do it again!

AttendeeCulture Night

“The demos were very helpful and the people described the work in simplistic ways that were easy to understand.”

AttendeeCulture Night

“This is serious information presented in a very accessible way.”

AttendeeInfrared Ray Day, Invisible Light Exhibition

“It is great in lockdown times to be able to participate in a Science Lecture from my sitting room.”

AttendeeInfrared Ray Day, Invisible Light Exhibition

Did You Know? A medical device called a Pulse Oximeter uses light to detect your blood oxygen levels. Each pulse oximeter has two lights – one red light and one infrared (IR) light – and a sensor. Blood containing lots of oxygen absorbs infrared light as the light passes through your body. The sensor will detect less infrared light. This reads as a high blood oxygen percentage.

Personnel Training

Nurturing a Positive Education and Public Engagement (EPE) Culture

IPIC aims to train the best in photonics researchers. In the same way we aim to train the best science communicators. IPIC personnel are encouraged to participate in both internal and external training to improve skills required for science communication. 

“EPE is not only scientists/researchers’ responsibility, but a way of donating some of our own time to improve social behaviour and education.”

Marcelo Saito NogueiraIPIC PhD Student

‘In my research it is important to understand the general public and end-user perspectives, and my participation in EPE has helped me a lot with that.’

Prof Stefan Andersson-EngelsHead of Biophotonics at IPIC

“I am a lot more confident at speaking in front of a crowd than I was when I first went into the PhD. I am more aware of how to communicate to different audiences about my research in an effective way.”

Megan O’BrienIPIC PhD Student

“In my opinion, both the general public and the scientific community stand to benefit from improved communication of scientific research.”

Dr. Francesco FlorisResearch Manager, Photonics Packaging Group

Get Involved!

Upcoming Events and More

What is ‘The Future of Light’?

There are 10 things you need to know about light! 

What is a Quantum Computer?

Try your own light-based experiments at home!

A Little Light Listening Podcast

Delve into the world of the science and technology of light with our podcast ‘A Little Light Listening’.

Episode 1 discusses LiDAR technology & its uses in many aspects of everyday life including self-drive vehicles, land mapping, meteorology and digital archaeology. Presented by David McGovern with Peter O’Brien and Nick Hogan. Special thank you to UCC Radio for production and support.

Listen here.

Cork Science Festival 2021

When: 7th – 14th of November

Where: Multiple locations in-person and online.

Activities: Find out more here.

Glasgow Science Festival 2021

When: 1st – 30th September 2021

More information: here

Culture Night 2021

When: Friday 17 September 2021

Where: Zoom

Activities: see Culture Night Website

Tyndall Talks: Science Snippets


Learn More About IPIC


For more information or to get involved

Caitríona Tyndall

Caitríona Tyndall

Education & Public Engagement Officer

Partner Events

Events IPIC Participate In