Résumé of International Year of Light

Résumé of International Year of Light

Author: Soham Roy

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2015 as the International Year of Light (IYL 2015), a year marked by a series of events “to bring the fascination of light and light-based technologies to non-scientists”. The IYL secretariat at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste, Italy, coordinated all the activities.

Jennifer Heidrich from the Journal of Unsolved Questions, talked to Professor Joseph Niemela from the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Global Coordinator of the IYL secretariat, about IYL 2015 and its impact. One of the major goals was to make people aware of the power of optical technologies, e.g., how light can be used to combat current challenges of energy and climate change. Professor Niemela points out that the team aimed to engage people on a local level to generate interest: “The emphasis was on empowering local nodes to work within their own communities.”

There were events which brought together people from diverse walks of life, for instance, a meeting of Vatican scholars and scientists. As Professor Niemela puts it, “there was a real communication that occurred between people speaking very different ‘languages”. The IYL 2015 set the foundation for a continuing activities such as “training of trainers”, which helps teachers in developing countries to educate their students about optical technologies. The enthusiasm, participation, and cohesiveness generated from diverse events marks IYL 2015 as one-of-a-kind initiative.

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