Ways to celebrate IYL 2015

Oct. 10, 2014
With 2015 fast approaching, I'm disappointed that I don't have anything specifically lined up related to the event, so I thought I'd do a little research and find out what's on tap for IYL2015.
Gail Overton 720 5d24ab8d71a38
I still have very fond memories of the 50th Anniversary of the Laser in 2010; most especially, the rock-n-roll music show called LasersRock! at CLEO 2010 in San Jose, CA. So how will you celebrate in the International Year of Light or IYL2015? For those of you who missed it, the United Nations officially declared 2015 the International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies back in late 2013 in order to promote improved public and political understanding of the central role of light in the modern world and celebrate significant scientific anniversaries occurring in 2015. 

With 2015 fast approaching, I'm disappointed that I don't have anything specifically lined up related to the event, so I thought I'd do a little research and find out what's on tap for IYL2015. 

Here are some ways to celebrate:

OPENING CEREMONY: IYL2015 begins with an opening ceremony on January 19-20, 2015 at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France. In a letter from John Dudley, Steering Committee Chair, International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (contact him at [email protected]), he asks that companies join the more than 100 organizations that are already involved, including Philips Lighting and Thorlabs, who have become patron sponsors. He adds that joining before the end of 2014 will ensure a place at the global opening ceremony, which will be a "spectacular celebration of light science and technology, bringing together Nobel laureates, CEOs, and 1500 dignitaries and leaders from the global scientific community." You can email [email protected] for details.

LPWA IMAGE CONTEST: You are invited to submit images that could appear in a UNESCO promo program for IYL 2015 with the contest theme being "The Vital Role that Light Art plays in People’s Lives." For contest details, go to http://www.lpwalliance.com/event/68.

SPIE IYL PHOTO CONTEST: Although the period for submissions of photos is now closed, please be sure to see the four winning images on the four covers of SPIE Professional magazine throughout 2015. SPIE received nearly 800 photos showing light and light-based technologies in everyday life. Images from all over the world showed everything from retinal scans and patients undergoing photodynamic therapy to Northern Lights, solar panels, sunsets, fireworks, and children doing their homework by candle light. But it's still not too late for involvement: A fourth award, based on online and onsite voting, will be made in August 2015. The finalists' images will be enlarged to poster size and brought to various SPIE meetings in 2015, including SPIE Optics + Photonics, for onsite voting for the People's Choice Award. Please participate.

IYL TALKS IN TAIWAN: To promote the knowledge of light, the IYL committee in Taiwan is inviting well-known optoelectronic experts and scholars to deliver talks once a week through the year of 2015. For more details, please contact Jian-Jang Huang, [email protected].

OSA CONTESTS: OSA's IYL 2015 "What Will You Do?" contest had 39 entrants from 18 countries who submitted their ideas via Facebook and five winners were chosen, ranging from a team that will develop a "laser piano" to an OSA Student Chapter that will conduct optics-related educational outreach to underserved student populations in India. You can review A full list of the winners and their ideas at http://www.osa.org/en-us/about_osa/international_year_of_light/the_contest_what_will_you_do_for_iyl_2015/. And OSA will soon be kicking off a new contest called the IYL Twitter Fun Facts Challenge. More details will be announced on OSA's IYL page at http://www.osa.org/IYL2015. There are even more chances to win with this contest, which is aimed at raising public awareness of the excitement behind optics and light.

EDUCATIONAL OUTREACH KITS: OSA will also be distributing the official IYL 2015 educational outreach kits that are hot off the presses this month. The kits, called the "Light Blox Kit" and developed by the organization Laser Classroom, will be distributed to OSA's network of more than 350 Student Chapters worldwide and will be given to local teachers that attend Educators' Day at OSA's Annual Meeting, Frontiers in Optics 2014, October 19 – 23 in Tucson, AZ.

VOLUNTEER: On the EPS website at http://www.epsnews.eu/2014/06/iyl2015-news/, it is noted that "... while the EPS and other society staff will be working hard to ensure that things run smoothly, we also need committed and enthusiastic volunteer scientists and students to help us prepare educational material, content for the website, blogs, and to participate as helpers and speakers in events that will take place during 2015." You can find out more about how to volunteer for IYL 2015 by sending an email to [email protected].

PARTICIPATE IN GLOBAL OPEN LAB DAYS (IYL-GOLD): Your laboratory can open up in May to foster photonics and light education; see details on the International Commission on Illumination (CIE) website at http://files.cie.co.at/736_IYL2015%20-%20Global%20Open%20Lab%20Days%20-%20CIE.pdf

PROMOTE IYL 2015 WITH A POSTER: You can download the poster at http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.eps.org/resource/resmgr/IYOL/EPS_IYL2015_poster.pdf for promotion at your company or school.

I also invite our readers to email me at [email protected] and let me know how you plan to celebrate IYL 2015. I'll do my best to pass along any event information to our photonics community.

About the Author

Gail Overton | Senior Editor (2004-2020)

Gail has more than 30 years of engineering, marketing, product management, and editorial experience in the photonics and optical communications industry. Before joining the staff at Laser Focus World in 2004, she held many product management and product marketing roles in the fiber-optics industry, most notably at Hughes (El Segundo, CA), GTE Labs (Waltham, MA), Corning (Corning, NY), Photon Kinetics (Beaverton, OR), and Newport Corporation (Irvine, CA). During her marketing career, Gail published articles in WDM Solutions and Sensors magazine and traveled internationally to conduct product and sales training. Gail received her BS degree in physics, with an emphasis in optics, from San Diego State University in San Diego, CA in May 1986.

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