Museum of Optics in St. Petersburg at ITMO University

It’s September, the educational time has begun, and in this article I will talk about the museum, which was created on the basis of the University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics, or, well, ITMO. We got here quite by accident. Well, or not by chance, since there are no accidents … My son and I walked along the University Embankment, went deep into the quarter, walked around the Scientific Library and accidentally saw a sign on the building of one of the universities that there was a museum.

The University building itself is very old. Loved the spiral staircase in the lobby. Although they are not allowed to go there, we asked to see it. They also asked to go to the canteen of the University, it’s very tasty!

A little about the University itself.

It was founded in 1900 as a mechanical-optical and watch department at the vocational school of Tsarevich Nikolai. In 1917, these departments separated from the school and became an independent educational institution, the Petrograd Technical School. Gradually, the school began to produce specialists who were able to create the most complex mechanical and optical devices for that time, and in 1931 they began to produce instrument engineers from the walls of the school. Since 1933, LITMO has been formed — the Leningrad Institute of Fine Mechanics and Optics with research laboratories. The world is developing, technologies are moving forward, and in 1945 the Faculty of Electrical Instrumentation appeared here, which later became known as the Radio Engineering Faculty. In 1956, by the way, the first computer was developed here, which performed calculations in a binary system, and output the data in decimal. Then some faculties were added, including laser technology, energy and management. A new building appeared in the 80s of the last century. They began to study microprocessor technologies, computer systems, optoelectronics, design, medical technologies and many other areas of new technologies.

Museum of Optics.

We definitely recommend visiting it. Almost completely interactive with the exception of a museum display showing old optical instruments. It will be interesting for children of both preschool age and schoolchildren. The latter will especially like and be very surprised. I was amazed, and even more so my son.

The exposition begins with a story about what a hologram is, the principle of operation and varieties.

Many times we saw similar pictures, but each time they asked the question of how it was done. And this is described in detail and examples. Honestly, I’m a humanist and didn’t understand everything, but my son exclaimed every time: “Ah, that’s it, I understand! ..” If the student understood, then it was told in an accessible and understandable way, we are not equal to me :))

Here are some optical experiments explaining the nature of some optical phenomena:

And a museum showing the history of the development of optics and discoveries in this area. Scroll through the gallery, there are a lot of pictures:

Well, then the continuous interactive begins. Everything can and should be touched, twisted, looked at and interacted with.

I really liked the «attraction» when you virtually need to pick a flower. Yarik was stuck there for a long time.

And I looked at various information posters with different optical and not only illusions.

This is how my son and I look on the thermal imager:

A few more interesting devices. By the way, you can see more about this museum in the video, the link to which I will leave at the end of the article.

Well, how can an optics museum exist without mirrors and a mirror labyrinth? And here he is too

I recommend visiting from the bottom of my heart. In the photographs, probably, even 20% of the exhibits are not. We spent about 1.5 hours in the museum, and it was practically a run, since the program for the day was intense.

Video from a trip to St. Petersburg: