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2015 is the International Year of Light

last modified Mar 23, 2018 10:11 AM
The International Year of Light celebrates a millennium of advancements in optical science and technology and recognises the importance of light technologies in the lives of each and every one of us

Since the invention of the laser in the late 60s, remarkable developments have taken place in the science and technology of light.  Optics and photonics have completely transformed the way we live today, and light transmits signals across the globe at the fastest possible speeds, and new technology developments have revolutionised the way we display and receive information and communicate.  Many of the greatest scientific advancements continue to be made through use of optical technologies. 

The United Nations declared 2015 as the International Year of Light and the aim of the IYOL15 initiative is to demonstrate the importance of optical technologies to modern life. This behemoth international effort, comprising over 100 partners from 85 countries, hopes to expose light technology to the world and give clarity to the people on how vital the technologies are. Interactive events are planned all year and globally that demonstrate optical technologies and their importance for today, tomorrow and for society. Key topics these events exhibit are; energy creation for mechanisms such as solar power and laser fusion; light in the built environment; telecommunications' dependency on fibre optic technologies; life science optics; optics for security and much more.

The Laser Analytics Group is very much a part of this. We use light to research molecular mechanisms of common diseases such as dementia, infectious disease, or cancer.  Optical technologies we have developed in the past inform on the processes that cause pollutants to be formed and help in the design of more fuel efficient engines.  Sensors built by the group enable individual molecules to be detected for medical diagnosis or in research. 

Group PhD students Laurie Young and Nathan Curry have sought to raise public interest in light and optics by organising a demonstration at the 2015 Cambridge Science festival.

The International Year of Light celebrates the anniversary of major scientific events in optics including:

  • 1015: Ibn Al-Haytham’s Book of Optics.
  • 1815: Fresnel’s light wave propagation postulate.
  • 1865: Maxwell’s Electromagnetic theory of light propagation.
  • 1915: Einstein’s theory of the photoelectric effect in 1905 and the role of light in general relativity.
  • 1965: Penzias and Wilson’ discovery of the cosmic microwave background.
  • 1965: Charles Kao’s transmission of light in fibres for optical communication.

The programme of events in the International Year of Light is available here.

The Founding Scientific Sponsors of IYL2015 are:

Click here for Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon’s message at the opening ceremony of the International year of Light in Paris.