The Optical Society to Host Special Events in Celebration of International Day of Light

15 November 2017

The Optical Society to Host Special Events in Celebration of International Day of Light

Proclamation Granted to Promote the Role of Light-Based Technological Solutions to Global Challenges 
WASHINGTON — The science of light improves most every facet of modern life. The UNESCO General Conference officially proclaimed 16 May as the International Day of Light (IDL). The Optical Society (OSA), the leading professional association in optics and photonics, will host a variety of special events to highlight the greater impact of light-based sciences. 

To celebrate the official proclamation, Nobel Laureate, John C. Mather, will provide a plenary presentation at CLEO 2018, San Jose Convention Center, California, USA.

John C. Mather, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, USA
Exploring the Universe at the Speed of Light
Astronomers travel the universe with imagination and observation, and most of the information arrives as light waves, showing the distant universe as it was revealed when the light was sent out.  We can now see at wavelengths ranging from over 10 meters to less than a Pico meter, limited only by our ingenuity and the opacity of our environment. We are beginning to learn the story of our own origins, from the expanding early universe (mislabeled as the Big Bang), to the formation of galaxies, stars, and black holes, to the stellar nuclear processes producing the heavy elements of life, to the formation of planets that can host life like our own. That history is full of catastrophic events, apparently necessary for our own existence. I will show some of the key discoveries, discuss the expanding universe, and outline the technology that will lead us to deeper understanding. Are we alone? Where are the neighbors, and how far away are they? Now that we know planets are common, and about 15% of stars have planets of the right size and temperature to resemble Earth, we can contemplate the direct search for extraterrestrial life through astronomy. In a few decades of serious optical effort, we could know an answer.

ARTECHOUSE, Washington, DC's first innovative art space dedicated to arts and technology, is proud to partner with The Optical Society (OSA), American Institute of Physics (AIP) and American Physical Society (APS) to present an innovative exhibition in Washington, DC, USA celebrating the first International Day of Light on 16 May 2018. Incorporating the latest lighting and digital technology, the exhibition will feature installations from the world-renown artists. Stepping into an immersive world of light, visitors will explore the luminous installations while discovering the science behind the art mediums used. Visit the ARTECHOUSE website for more information.
OSA Optics Suitcase
In partnership with the Rochester OSA Local Section (ROSA), the OSA Foundation (OSAF), U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), the OSA Foundation will distribute 150 special edition International Day of Light Optics Suitcase to OSA Student Chapters and OSA Local Sections to use for youth education outreach events between 1 April and 30 June 2018.

“The Rochester Local Section is proud to collaborate with OSA and OSA Foundation for the International Day of Light,” said Dr. Tanya Kosc, scientist at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, USA and OSA Rochester Section, Education Chair. “The Optics Suitcase is the most accessible and comprehensive education tool that I’ve used for optics outreach to middle-school-aged children."  

The many activities on 16 May will involve professionals, students, young people and interested citizens as well as groups from many different communities: optical scientists and engineers, astronomers, educators, designers, architects, artists and lighting professionals. 
About The Optical Society
Founded in 1916, The Optical Society (OSA) is the leading professional organization for scientists, engineers, students and business leaders who fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate achievements in the science of light. Through world-renowned publications, meetings and membership initiatives, OSA provides quality research, inspired interactions and dedicated resources for its extensive global network of optics and photonics experts. For more information, visit
Connect with the International Day of Light
Twitter:  @IDL2018, #IDL2018
Facebook:   IDL2018
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