The University of Southampton

Pearl John

Pearl John is the Public Engagement Leader for the department. Pearl obtained a combined honours degree in Fine Art and English Literature from the University of Exeter in 1990, and a Master’s Degree in Holography from the Royal College of Art (RCA), London in 1992. After graduating Pearl worked firstly as the RCA Student Union President, then in the holography Industry creating huge holograms for corporate clients, and lastly taught Photography and Holography to UG students at Croydon Art College before undertaking a ‘Training for Artists-in-Schools’ diploma course at the UCL Institute of Education, London. On completing that course she was offered a job teaching Laser Technology to High School Students in Columbia, USA on the world’s first 3 year school’s Photonics Programme (sponsored by 3M and designed to help solve the shortage of Laser Technicians) She helped write the curriculum for the programme and stayed teaching in Missouri for 5 ½ years. She returned to the UK to join the department in 2003 and has stayed ever since.

Pearl runs the popular Light Express laser roadshow in schools and colleges and advises academics on all aspects of public engagement activities. She is currently completing a part-time PhD in Holography and Lenticular imaging. Pearl has exhibited her art work internationally and delivers holography workshops in galleries, museums, schools and colleges across the country. She is currently Southampton PI on the EU PHABLABS 4.0 grant bringing Photonics (and Holography) to maker’s labs across Europe.


Cherrett, Tom, Gates, James C., John, Pearl, Holdaway-Salmon, Laura, Price, Joseph, Wills, Gary B. and Dror, Itiel E. (2009) Making laser safety training more cognitively effective: making training videos interactive and adaptive. International Laser Safety Conference, Reno, United States. 23 - 26 Mar 2009. 7 pp .

John, P., Gates, J., Clark, D., Pennington, R., Himsworth, M. and Barney, A. (2006) Teaching holography: new problems, new courses and new students: a case study in teaching holography as a problem based learning project to engineering and physics foundation year students. 7th International Symposium on Display Holography: Advances in display holography, United Kingdom. 10 - 14 Jul 2006. pp. 32-36 .

Wong, N.H.L., Posner, M.T. and John, P.V. (2015) The Lightwave Programme and Roadshow: An Overview and Update. Conference on Education and Training in Optics and Photonics (ETOP), France. 29 Jun - 02 Jul 2015. 16 pp . (doi:10.1117/12.2223239).

Posner, Matthew, John, Pearl, Wong, Nicholas, Heng Loong, Mittal, Vinita and Núñez-Velázquez, Martin (2016) From school classes to UNESCO: IYL-enabled environments for tackling the STEM skills shortage through student-led outreach. In Optics Education and Outreach IV. vol. 9946, SPIE. 10 pp . (doi:10.1117/12.2238222).

Posner, Matthew T., John, Pearl V., Standen, Deanna, Wheeler, Natalie V., Van Putten, Lieke D., Soper, Nathan, Parsonage, Tina L., Wong, Nicholas H.L. and Brambilla, Gilberto (2016) Reflecting photonics: reaching new audiences through new partnerships – IYL 2015 and the Royal Horticultural Society Flower Show. SPIE Optical Engineering + Applications Symposium (9946), Optics Education and Outreach IV, United States. 14 pp . (doi:10.1117/12.2236977).


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