The International Year of Light and Light

The International Year of Light
and Light-based Technologies
Health Communications Economy
Endorsed by the UNESCO Executive Board in 2012 and UNESCO
General Conference in 2013, a resolution by the UN General
Assembly was adopted on 20 December 2013
Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chile, China, Colombia,
Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Ghana, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Israel,
Italy, Japan, Mauritius, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Nepal, New Zealand,
Nicaragua, Palau, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Somalia, Spain, Sri Lanka,
Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine and United States of America
IEEE Photonics Society is a Founding Partner since 2010
International Year of Light also supported by URSI and other ICSU Unions
What the UN wants
To promote light technologies for improved quality
of life in developed and developing world
To reduce light pollution and energy waste
To promote women’s empowerment in science
To promote education amongst young people
To promote sustainable development
For example
Internet use by population
75% in Europe
16% in Africa
Study after sunset is not
possible in many developing
countries because there is no
grid lighting
Potential is very broad
Origin of Life
Communications & GPS
Optical Instruments
The Universe
More than science
Cultural Heritage
Education for All
Light and Art
Focus on science
1015: 1000 years of Arabic optics
1815: 200 years of Fresnel’s theory of diffraction
1865: 150 years since Maxwell’s electrodynamics
1915: Einstein Centenary, General Relativity.
1965: Cosmic Microwave Background, Penzias & Wilson
Optical Fibre Technology, Charles Kao
This is like nothing we
have ever done before
In 2009, the International Year of
Astronomy reached 815 million
people in 148 nations
How do we do it?
Many ways …
Existing events for 2015 can be planned to focus on light and photonics
We can link with a broader international and national programme of activities
being planned at the moment and which will start to roll out in April-May
Linking with the French National Committee is the easiest way to coordinate
our actions, but we can also leverage the IEEE itself
There are specific opportunities for us to help Region 8 countries in the
International Year of Light, promoting science in Africa and celebrating 1000
years of Arabic optics
We only have one chance at this – there will not be another technologyoriented year declared by the UN for some time
International Actions
Secretariat operating out of the ICTP UNESCO Cat I centre in Trieste, Italy
Coordinated globally by UNESCO HQ in Paris
The Chairman of the International Steering Committee is J. Dudley (FIEEE,
Besançon) so we have very straightforward ways of making contact
National Actions
CNOP – organisers of 50 Years of the Laser in 2010 – have launched a national
committee (open to all partners; aim is coordination and optimising resources)
The International Year of Light
and Light-based Technologies
We have a unique chance to promote science and technology in 2015
We must take advantage of 2015 to to raise the profile of science and
technology to decision-makers, funding agencies, and the public
We can inspire a new generation