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LaserFest Video Contest

This year we couldn't make up our minds. We love physics hip hop and we also love interference ballads. Therefore, we decided to give out two grand prizes. You are witnessing history in the making here and it probably won't be repeated. Here are the winners:

Lasers are Crazy (Stephen Boyd)

Lasers are crazy
Shine through the hazy
Lasers are crazy
Shine through the hazy

While many have tried and failed, Youarentbenjamin successfully attempted a musical feat that few have ever achieved in a laser song: sing the acronym in the chorus. One thing we know about Youarentbenjamin is that they love video contests. Salad dressing, pizza, Z-Coils... psoriasis - you name it they've rapped it. Yet one question remains about the Lasers Are Crazy video. Why are they throwing down laser rhymes in someone's front yard?

 

Strangers in the night (Cory Stinson)

Strangers in the night exchanging glances
Wondering in the night
What were the chances we'd be sharing love
Before the night was through

This video demonstrates one of the coolest effects of lasers light: interference patterns! If you take two beams of well behaved coherent light such as laser beams and merge them together you get interference. It's simple and yet so amazing. The merging light cancels out in some places and combines in others to form the striped pattern in the video. Cory, a physics graduate student explained that he split a laser beam with a beam splitter (tinted glass) and then used mirrors to direct the two beams onto the same spot on the wall. He then used some video software to create the ambiance of two strangers in the night.

 

Basic Optics with Lasers

The people's choice award went to Dorilián López Mago of Monterrey in Mexico. The video shows you how to have fun with laser scattering, refraction and diffraction. These are the essential demonstrations that you do as soon as you get a laser pointer. The green laser is bright and scatters well in almost any liquid. However, the holographic "diffraction splits" are impressive. Where does one get a diffraction split that displays a full keyboard? And why? You'll just have to go south of the border to Monterrey and ask Dorilián for yourself.


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