Inspired by Light: Reflections from the International Year of Light 2015 Book

IYL_2015_Inspired_by_Light_coverInspired by Light: Reflections from the International Year of Light 2015, is a collection of 56 blog posts from researchers, industry professionals, students, NGO representatives, a Nobel laureate, and other authors from 24 countries that were published on the IYL 2015 blog. This book, to be published in January 2016 for distribution at the IYL 2015 Closing Ceremony, was produced by SPIE in concert with the European Physical Society and the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) to celebrate the achievements of IYL 2015. Contributions in the book cover, light in culture, education, science, and technology with essays that pay homage to the people throughout history who have advanced light-based technologies, and to the many ways humanity has been influenced and inspired by light.

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Passing on the Light

“Having light we pass it on to others” is the motto of my undergraduate alma mater, Wittenberg University. But it could easily be a theme for the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015 (IYL 2015). As the celebratory year closes, those of us who have light (who understand its unique position in and promise for our world) have a duty to continue passing on to others our love & appreciation of light.

H. Philip Stahl with Physics PhD students at SPIE Photonics West. Credit: SPIE.

H. Philip Stahl with Physics PhD students at SPIE Photonics West. Credit: SPIE.

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How we celebrated IYL 2015

On October 19th, President Obama opened the White House lawn to host an event for thousands of stars. These stars were not celebrities, however, but those actual giant balls of gas and dust found throughout our Milky Way galaxy.

The event, dubbed the White House Astronomy Night, was intended to help promote the president’s commitment to advancing the United States’ position in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (commonly referred to as STEM). Dozens of satellite events were held around the country, each allowing members of the public to connect, for free, with the stars above and the universe beyond.

On the White House lawn, October 19, 2015. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky.

On the White House lawn, October 19, 2015. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky.

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Light for a Better World – A Celebration of U.S. Innovation at the National Academy of Sciences

Hundreds of people attended an evening event this past Saturday titled, “Light for a Better World: A Celebration of U.S. Innovation” at the National Academy of Sciences. This was one of two flagship events anchoring International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies (IYL 2015) celebration in the United States, and it featured several delightful lectures by a distinguished panel of speakers followed by a nice reception.

The evening was sponsored by the U.S. IYL 2015 organizing committee, which includes the National Science Foundation, National Academy of Sciences, The Optical Society, American Institute of Physics, American Physical Society, IEEE Photonics Society and SPIE.

An earlier, daytime event called “Wonders of Light – Family Science Fun” at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian where more than 500 people, largely children and their parents, were treated to more than a dozen booths offering hands-on activities. I will describe more about that daytime event in a separate blog. First, let me describe the evening event and how well the speakers there captured the dual themes reflected in the title: light innovation and working toward a better world.

Musicians are bathed in LED light from the Radiance Orb, which responds to their playing before the start of the Light for a Better World celebration in Washington D.C. On September 12, 2015. Credit: Jason Socrates Bardi.

Musicians are bathed in LED light from the Radiance Orb, which responds to their playing before the start of the Light for a Better World celebration in Washington D.C. On September 12, 2015. Credit: Jason Socrates Bardi.

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First SPIE/IPA Biophotonics event in South America – celebrating the IYL 2015

The 15th World Congress of the International Photodynamic Association (IPA) was a joint event with the SPIE Biophotonics South America, the first SPIE event in the south hemisphere.

Photodynamic Therapy and Biophotonics are related topics and this joint conference could bring together scientists with common interests and knowledge. The congress took place on 22-26 May 2015, at the Belmond Copacabana Palace Hotel, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This event is part of the celebration of the International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies (IYL 2015) and had the support from Brazilian Physical Society (SBF).

Students at Rio de Janeiro Room at Copacabana Palace Hotel attending and Prof. Cristina Kurachi Tutorial, on 22 May 2015. Credit: IPA.

Students at Rio de Janeiro Room at Copacabana Palace Hotel attending and Prof. Cristina Kurachi Tutorial, on 22 May 2015. Credit: IPA.

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