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Brought to Light

Optics, a branch of physics, is the study of light. We encounter optical phenomena and appearances as soon as we open our eyes: everyday ones, such as our reflection in a mirror, dark shadows or a celestial sunset; or rarer ones, such as a rainbow or a mirage. So we perceive light with our sight – the sense that is usually the first to provide us with information about our surroundings. So it stands to reason that the study of light and its properties has always been of great importance to humans.

In three sections, the exhibition presents the fundamentals and applications of classical optics from antiquity to the beginning of the 20th century. From selected scenes in the history of optics, the tour continues to the Microscopy Theater and finally to the large experimental area focusing on geometrical optics and wave optics. Touching and trying things out is expressly encouraged here! Around twenty hands-on tables and ten push-button experiments invite visitors to explore and understand optical phenomena. "In the "Classical Optics" exhibition, the emphasis is on participation and comprehension. That's why our visitors will deliberately find only a few screens here, but all the more exciting and surprising experiments," says Johannes-Geert Hagmann, the exhibition's curator.

Facts and Figures:
Location: Level 1
Exhibition area: approx. 300 sqm
Demos and interactives: 30
Dioramas: 3
Media stations: 2

Highlight: The Microscopy Theater
Raise the curtain on the world of tiny creatures: Fascinating insights are revealed in the Microscopy Theater during regular demonstrations. A modern electron microscope, alongside a conventional light microscope, reveals tiny details of small specimens. The infinite variety of forms of flower pollen and marine plankton, the hairy legs of a predatory mite or even living tardigrades are then visible from afar on the three large screens above the theater.