Student and professional holds laser show for MVHS I-Tech

Minh Bui

Senior Ben Steigerwald shares not only lasers but also his experience in the workplace

On Nov. 20, MVHS I-Tech club members viewed a tech demo featuring the different uses and applications of industry, professional grade lasers.

The demonstrator, senior Ben Steigerwald brought his own personal equipment that had a total retail price of almost $8000. Among the equipment was a Coherent sapphire laser, a machine that is commonly used to separate particles within human DNA and is a critical component of DNA sequencing. Other equipment included a spectrometer, which detects the wavelength spectrum of the light being emitted by the laser, and a power meter, which measures the power output of a laser (useful for gauging safety procedures and the age of the laser).

Steigerwald also gave students a brief demonstration of the way a laser worked. He explained the system of mirrors and reflectance that produces the stream of photons known as a laser.

I-Tech members took up the chance to ask Steigerwald about his experience with lasers over the years, as well his history in the workplace. Steigerwald shared his undertaking of opening a small business as a surplus laser reseller about five years ago. His entry into the professional field started the end of last year, when he began to work at Majestech, a company which develops conceptual prototypes of lasers to sell to manufacturers to produce. Steigerwald urged the importance of safety goggles on the job.

"I actually had one of my eyes saved by safety glasses," Steigerwald said, "[The laser] put a hole in the glasses."

The I-Tech officers, who have put together live tech demos for the club before, found the demonstration to be more appealing and educational than those in the past.

"It’s something you don’t get to see [on regular occassions] because of safety reasons," I-Tech officer junior Saurabh Davala said.

Steigerwald’s age and his professional success made the demonstration that much more appealing to I-Tech officer junior Neil Bhasin.

"It was good to have a professional and a MVHS student at the same time," Bhasin said.