The International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015 Opening Ceremony

IYL2015programme_coverThe International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL 2015) will be officially launched today with a two-day Opening Ceremony at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. The Opening Ceremony will introduce all key themes of the year, acting as inspiration for events worldwide during 2015 to raise awareness of the importance of light-based technologies in providing solutions to worldwide challenges in areas such as energy, education, communications and health.

Over a thousand participants will attend the event, and speakers and attendees will include international diplomats and decision-makers, Nobel laureates, CEOs, and science and industry leaders from across the globe.

On 19 January, the ceremony will begin with opening addresses by international political leaders. The Nobel laureates Ahmed Zewail (‘Light is Life’) and Steven Chu (‘Energy and Climate Change: Challenges and Opportunities’) will give two pleanary lectures during this day. The programme will also include an overview of the International Year of Light by the IYL 2015 Steering Committee Chair John Dudley. During the day there will also be different thematic sessions: several representatives of the international community of light and light-based technology will give their particular perspectives on the context, challenges and opportunities for 2015; a session about future developments in innovative light solutions; and another session focused on the tremendous cultural significance of light. In addition, the leading science and cultural heritage organization 1001 Inventions will launch their accompanying international campaign to promote the life and works of the pioneering scientist from the Golden Age of Muslim Civilization, Ibn al-Haytham. The day will be closed with a recital by American violinist Joshua Bell and the exterior illumination of the UNESCO Fontenoy building, which has been designed and implemented by Finnish light artist Kari Kola (Valoparta). The installation will transform all three faces of the building to recreate the Aurora Borealis. Other cultural events during the day include the performance of the Maori founding myth Te Ao Mārama – From Darkness to the World of Light by Nga-ti Ra-nana London Maori Club (New Zealand).

On 20 January, the highligths of the day will be the plenary lectures of three Nobel Laureates: William Phillips (‘Einstein, Time and Light’), Serge Haroche (‘Light and the Quantum’) and Zhores Alferov (‘Efficient Light Conversion and Generation’). Other parts of the programme will include a session on light on development, one where speakers will address particular topics where pushing the limits of optical science promises to lead to new advances both in fundamental physics and multidisciplinary applications and another with brief presentations on new research directions in both basic science and new technologies. The IYL 2015 Opening Ceremony will be closed with one session addressing how optical technologies have tremendous potential to provide practical solutions to many problems in developing countries and a science-policy session where speakers with a range of different backgrounds in both science and science policy discuss issues of how science can best engage with society and how policy solutions can address issues of sustainability and development.

For more information on the Programme click here.

You can watch the Opening Ceremony online on the following links:

Instructions to participate on the World Map Projection

Instructions to participate on the World Map Projection. Credits: Offenburg University

And also you can be active part of the Opening Ceremony. An interactive world map projection – designed by the Offenburg University (Germany) – will be able to be seen on the wall space at UNESCO HQ, showing the online community celebrating the Launch of the Year! The projection is based on tweets with hashtag #IYL2015 and messages on

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