Monday, March 10, 2014

Frontiers in Glass

by Esmeralda Vargas

I recently attended a Phi Theta Kappa Regional conference in Corning, New York. At this event there were multiple guest speakers, one of them was named Steve Gibbs. The presentation was a discussion about glass and elaborated on the usage, history and preparation of the material. Mr. Gibbs made the audience aware of the value of glass, and how this substance has lead to the success of the Corning Museum of Glass.
 The city of Corning is known for its famous Museum of Glass. This museum shows its visitors the significance of glass throughout history by showcasing numerous glass sculptures that were created by former generations of glassmakers. The Glass museum also informs the public about the impact and development glass has had on society through an “Innovation center” exhibit. There, the role of glass in major discoveries and creations, such as eye glasses, is explained.
Mr. Gibbs spoke about how his passion for glass has allowed him to travel around the world. The Glass Museum’s live glass blowing show has been so successful that it now has a roadshow, which travels around the United States. Additionally, the roadshow has also been featured on Celebrity cruise ships, which travel around the world.
            Aside from the entertainment the Glass Museum has provided for its audience, it has also educates its guest on current advances in glass technology. For example, glass is used to make fiber optic cables, which are thin glass tubes that are about as thick as single human hair. Digital signals are sent through these fiber optic strings making it possible for individuals to communicate via the Internet or phone. Furthermore, copper wires are what were first used to send digital signals, but they were quickly replaced by optic fibers because, fiber optics are lighter, safer, stronger, and can carry more information then copper wires resulting in better data bandwidth.
            Mr. Gibbs information session on glass was an exciting and educational presentation. I learned how a simple material such as glass holds so much importance to our society, and how it helped create advancements in our technology. Additionally, it amazing to see how glass is made and how previous generations used glass to create beautiful structures that are still standing today.

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