International Year of Light Comes to Washington D.C. on September 12th

Media are invited to two events to celebrate achievements in science and engineering of light
and light-based technologies, and raise awareness of contributions to humanity

Washington – To promote the progress and promise of light research and education, leading U.S. science organizations will host two events on Saturday, September 12, 2015, in Washington.

The events are organized by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in conjunction with The American Institute of Physics, The American Physical Society, The IEEE Photonics Society, The National Academy of Sciences, The Optical Society and the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE).

The two day and evening programs will mark the International Year of Light, a yearlong celebration of light science and its applications, as proclaimed by the United Nations.

These events will feature the latest in light-based technologies as well as leading scientists and educators to promote improved public understanding of the central role of light in the modern world.

Wonders of Light: Family Science Fun
WHAT:     An educational event for school-age children with activities demonstrating the science of light
WHEN:    10:00 am – 2:00 pm E.T. on September 12
WHERE:  The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian
                 4th St & Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20560
WHO:       Public and media are welcome; no RSVP required
                 * The first 1,000 visitors will receive an International Year of Light tote bag.

Hands-on activities include:
• A LED-orb that changes color with music
• An interactive video game using sensors
• A green screen to be a reporter for a day

Light for a Better World: A Celebration of U.S. Innovation
WHAT: A public symposium and invitation-only reception
WHEN: 6:00 – 9:00 pm E.T. on September 12
WHERE: National Academy of Sciences
2101 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20418
WHO: Media and invited guests
Interested members of the media, please contact

This symposium will feature:
• Eric Betzig, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, 2014 Nobel Prize Winner
• France Córdova, National Science Foundation Director
• Gerald Duffy, GE Lighting Manager
• Michael Liehr, AIM Photonics CEO
• Shuji Nakamura, University of California Santa Barbara, 2014 Nobel Prize Winner

About The International Year of Light
The International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies (IYL 2015) is a global initiative adopted by the United Nations (A/RES/68/221) to raise awareness of how optical technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to worldwide challenges in energy, education, agriculture, communications and health.  With UNESCO as lead agency, IYL 2015 programs will promote improved public and political understanding of the central role of light in the modern world while also celebrating noteworthy anniversaries in 2015—from the first studies of optics 1,000 years ago to discoveries in optical communications that power the Internet today.  The IYL Global Secretariat is located at the Abdus Salam International Centre of Theoretical Physics (ICTP).
The Founding Partners of IYL 2015 are the American Institute of Physics (AIP), the American Physical Society (APS), the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (DPG), the European Physical Society (EPS), the Abdus Salam International Centre of Theoretical Physics (ICTP), the IEEE Photonics Society (IPS), the Institute of Physics (IOP), Light: Science and Applications, the International Network, 1001 Inventions, The Optical Society (OSA) and the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE).
Patron Sponsors include Bosca, the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD), Royal Philips Lighting, Thorlabs and UL.

For more information on the International Year of Light, please visit,

For more information about NSF-funded light research and education, visit

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. OSA is a founding partner of the National Photonics Initiative and the 2015 International Year of Light. For more information, visit:
Media Contacts: