A photo of a jasmine flower inside a soap bubble by Zohe Slack, who graduated from AHS this past spring, is now featured in the "2013 Top 100 Photos" gallery on the website of American Association of Physics Teachers, which sponsors the annual contest.
The high school posted an announcement of her honor earlier this month on its website. Her teacher was Valerie Risk.
The contest drew more than 1,300 submissions, and 15 were submitted by Albany High students, according to the high school. Albany students used a Google survey to select the school's entries from more than 100 candidates.
The entries were judged not just on the photos but also on the descriptions provided by the students.
Slack, who will attend UC Santa Cruz this fall, submitted the following description of her photo:
Bubble Surface as Concave Mirror, by Zohe Slack
There is a Jasmine flower enclosed within a glycerin based soap bubble. This is an example of both light reflection and thin film interference. Since the object is placed at around twice the focal length of the bubble, an inverted image of the white flower is created when light bounces off the real flower, and is reflected at an angle equal to the incident angle. In addition, thin film interference occurs, creating the streaks of color along the top surface of the bubble. When light waves hit the top surface of the the thin film of the spherical bubble, some light is reflected, and some is transmitted. Since the index of refraction of the second medium, the soap, is higher than the index of refraction the first medium, air, the reflected wave undergoes a 180 degree phase change. The light that is transmitted through the outer layer of the soap then hits the inside layer of the bubble, and again some of the light is reflected, at an angle equal to the incident angle. If the total extra distance traveled by the second ray is equal to one or a whole number of wavelengths in the film, the two waves will interfere constructively and reach the eye in phase. Each color of the visible light spectrum is represented by wavelengths, and thus the thickness of the thin film and the angle at which the incident ray hits affects the color that is seen by a viewer.
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