The International Year of Light is a global initiative which will highlight to the citizens of the world the importance of light and optical technologies in their lives, for their futures, and for the development of society. It is an unique opportunity to inspire, educate, and connect on a global scale.On 20 December 2013, The United Nations (UN) General Assembly 68th Session proclaimed 2015 as the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL 2015). This International Year has been the initiative of a large consortium of scientific bodies together with UNESCO, and will bring together many different stakeholders including scientific societies and unions, educational institutions, technology platforms, non-profit organizations and private sector partners.In proclaiming an International Year focusing on the topic of light science and its applications, the United Nations has recognized the importance of raising global awareness about how light-based technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to global challenges in energy, education, agriculture and health. Light plays a vital role in our daily lives and is an imperative cross-cutting discipline of science in the 21st century. It has revolutionized medicine, opened up international communication via the Internet, and continues to be central to linking cultural, economic and political aspects of the global society.“An International Year of Light is a tremendous opportunity to ensure that international policymakers and stakeholders are made aware of the problem-solving potential of light technology. We now have a unique opportunity to raise global awareness of this.”John Dudley, Chairman of the IYL 2015 Steering Committee
Why is 2015 the International Year of Light?
This year marks a number of major anniversaries in the history of optics:
– 1000 years since Ibn Al-Haytham wrote his Book of Optics, covering colour, visual perception, reflection and refraction
– 200 years since Augustin-Jean Fresnel proposed the idea that light is a wave
– 150 years since James Clerk Maxwell proposed the electromagnetic theory of light propagation
– 110 years since Albert Einstein proposed a quantum explanation for the photoelectric effect
– 100 years since Einstein proposed his general theory of relativity, embedding light in cosmology
– 50 years since Arno Penzias and Robert Woodrow Wilson’s discovery of the cosmic microwave background, and Charles Kao’s achievements concerning the transmission of light in fibers for optical communication.