16 May 2019

The Optical Society Celebrates International Day of Light 16 May 2019

Global initiative established by UNESCO supports appreciation of light and the crucial role it plays in many aspects of daily life

WASHINGTON -- The Optical Society (OSA) today celebrates the second annual International Day of Light (IDL), a global initiative by UNESCO that supports continued appreciation of light and the role it plays in science, culture and art, education and sustainable development and in fields as diverse as medicine, communications and energy.

This year’s flagship IDL event is an all-day conference, Illuminating Education, held at the International Center for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy. The conference has a special focus on attracting young people, especially women, to study light science. Click here to read an article about the conference.

“Members of The Optical Society know the importance of light and, through UNESCO’s International Day of Light, we are pleased to share our knowledge,” 2019 OSA President Ursula Gibson said. “There is much to celebrate about the myriad light-based technologies from optics and photonics research that benefit humanity.”

“Particularly crucial are the issues surrounding electrical access to light as a means of improving the standard of living in developing countries, and the issues concerning the optical fiber used to connect the world’s citizens through the Internet,” United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General Audrey Azoulay said of the IDL initiative. “The resulting communication networks can lead to more cultural exchanges, more justice, responsibility and peace.”

The “Students & Societies” session at the Illuminating Education conference will include a presentation and roundtable discussion by OSA student chapter head, Xiang “Dino” Dai, a senior from the electro-optical department of Changchun University of Science and Technology (CUST), China. Dai’s chapter established a cooperation agreement with the Changchun, China, Optics Science and Technology Museum that includes developing programming for science outreach.

As part of OSA’s International Day of Light 2019 celebration, OSA student chapters will conduct outreach activities that make use of the demonstration kit, “Lights and Lasers 101.”

OSA is a founding member of the IDL steering committee, which guided the first celebration on 16 May 2018, as well as plans for future events. Sixteen May is the official date for IDL--as established by UNESCO—and the date for all future celebrations. You can learn more about how to participate with OSA at osa.org/idl.

About The Optical Society
Founded in 1916, The Optical Society (OSA) is the leading professional organization for scientists, engineers, students and entrepreneurs 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 osa.org.

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