From newborns to the elderly, people around the world are treated everyday using technology rooted in optics and photonics.
By harnessing the power of light to understand and heal disease, we are able to continue to develop new ways to improve people’s lives. In this chapter of The Healing Power of Light, we focus on neonatal jaundice as a simple case of how light can help us to see and treat disease in the most vulnerable infants.
The IEEE Photonics Society is excited to be a founding partner of the International Year of Light (IYL2015) to support the IYL2015 mission of raising awareness of the importance of light-based technologies in improving our quality of life in aspects such as health, communications, and the environment.
IYL2015 also recognizes the history of light in the universe. 2015 is of particular historical significance for IPS since it commemorates the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Quantum Electronics Council which would eventually become the IEEE Photonics Society.
Looking back, my career path was not determined by some grand plan, but rather by the beauty of the light from an argon ion laser in our Applied Physics Department. It wasn’t the science that the laser was bought for, Raman spectroscopy, or an understanding of how the laser would change the world, that drew me.
At the time I was soon to graduate with a physics degree – the first in my family history to get a science degree – and was interviewing with a local branch of IBM where my love of mathematics might give me an edge and where I might find stimulating work in Northern Ireland. But fate intervened and I was seduced by the light, by the pure intense green beam, and lasers became my thing. Mentioning lasers also gave some sort of defense against the many enquiries from caring relatives on when was I going to get a real job.
In the German Ruhr area, close to Düsseldorf and Dortmund, one finds the world’s first and only museum specialized in presenting light art.
The Centre for International Light Art in the city of Unna resides in the cooling and storage cellars of the former Linden brewery, some 33 feet below ground, and it is here where the most important international compositions of light art are brought together. Every single light art installation was specifically created for the museum, and wandering through the labyrinth-like vaulted rooms one encounters works by James Turrell, Christian Boltanski, Ólafur Eliasson, Rebecca Horn, Joseph Kosuth, Mario Merz, Francois Morellet, Keith Sonnier and many more.
As the International Year of Light draws closer upon the horizon, Japan is busy planning their involvement in this once-only international event.
From committees to initiatives, we hope to bring knowledge and development to Japan surrounding the central topic of light and light-based technologies. As the node for Japan, I’m looking forward to encouraging national participation in the initiative.