www.osa.org/en-us/the_optical_society_blog/2014/july_2014/light_enables_tomorrow_s_technologies/International Year of Light 2015


About IYL 2015

The International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies (IYL 2015) is a global initiative that 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.

A resolution declaring 2015 the International Year of Light was passed by the full United Nations General Assembly on 20 December 2013. The Optical Society is one of nine founding scientific organizations that worked to obtain the formal declaration.
The International Year of Light consisted of coordinated activities on national, regional and international levels.

Raising Global Awareness

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 of how light-based technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to global challenges in energy, education, agriculture and health.


International Year of Light Closing Events
The Year of Light (IYL2015) officially closed with a ceremony held in Mérida, Mexico, 4-6 February 2016. Over 300 participants reviewed the activies from the year and discussed IYL's legacy. A write up of the event can be found here.

Wonders of Light, a family friendly event featuring light-based science demonstrations and other family fun at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. Learn more about the event here

Light for a Better World featured two Nobel Laureates headling an  event at the National Academy of Sciences. Learn more about the event here

OSA President Alan Willner was a featured speaker at the University of California Santa Barbara's Year of Light Symposium. 

Exhibit by The Light Painting World Alliance

During the 2015 OSA Winter Leadership Conference, attendees utilized the opportunity to enjoy an exhibit of light painting provided by The Light Painting World Alliance (LPWA).  

With all the advancements in technology one wonders what impact this has had on the creative arts. Light painting is one example of an art form born in the technological age. Painters are able to create imaginative photographs by manipulating the amount of light in a physical environment, by illuminating or creating effects using different light sources, which are then captured by a camera using long exposure. Through the use of technological devises, light painters can turn a simple landscape or environment into something only limited by their imagination.
The International Year of Light 2015 is an opportunity to celebrate the power and beauty of the human imagination and how technology has enabled us to share and create things that would otherwise be invisible and in the processes expand the possibilities of art and the creative process

About The Light Painting World Alliance

PWA is an international, self-juried guild of established and emerging professional light painting artists. The LPWA’s purpose is to promote light painting as an art form as well as to promote the works of artist members. The Alliance proclaimed its Manifesto in December 1st 2011. Since then, hundreds of artists from around the globe joined LPWA. LPWA has managed 5 international events, including 3 worldwide exhibitions (Moscow 2012, Paris 2013, Oviedo 2014), where more than 100 top artists were presented. All LPWA events include educational activities. The priority is to engage common people with light painting. LPWA have local representatives in 27 countries.

About Light Painting

Light Painting is an artistic photographic technique where light sources are manually applied by photographers to a single long exposure frame, usually in complete darkness. Long exposure photography has been around since the early days of daguerreotypewww.osa.org/en-us/the_optical_society_blog/2014/july_2014/light_enables_tomorrow_s_technologies/s. Early artistic light painting photographs began to be created in the early 20th century by master artists Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Man Ray and Picasso. Since those early days, light painting has evolved to become a genre that is growing in sophistication and popularity across the globe. Light painting photographs are often mistaken for being “photoshopped” due to the surreal and psychedelic effects that are created. While artists use a variety of light sources from simple flashlights, lasers and LED lights to ignited steel wool, electric wire and pyrotechnics to illuminate their photographic composition, they do not use post-processing software to enhance their photographs in any way.

Light in our Daily Life

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.  For centuries light has transcended all boundaries, including geographic, gender, age, culture and race, and is a tremendous subject to motivate education.

United Nations Support

Prior to approval by the full U.N. General Assembly, the IYL 2015 resolution was submitted to the United Nations Second Committee on 6 November 2013 by the nation of Mexico, with delegates from both Mexico and New Zealand speaking in support. As Ana María Cetto from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) says: “Light matters to all of us. It is thanks to light that we know our place in the Universe, and that there is life on Earth.  The IYL will create a forum for scientists, engineers, artists, poets and all others inspired by light to interact both with each other and with the public so as to learn more about the nature of light, its many applications, and to discuss its role in our culture.” 

The resolution was adopted with co-sponsorship from 35 countries: Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chile, China, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Ghana, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mauritius, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Nepal, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Palau, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Somalia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine and United States of America.

This impressive list of co-sponsors reflects the truly international and inclusive nature of the theme of an International Year of Light.

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OSA Past President Anthony Johnson presents information on the International Year of Light to the OSA Student Chapter Leadership members at FiO 2013 in Orlando, FL.
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OSA Student Members brainstorming ideas for IYL 2015 activities and events.
Light2015 website
The official website for the 2015 International Year of Light has launched: light2015.org

Past Events
4 – 6 February 2016 - International Year of Light Closing Ceremony
Yucatan Siglo XXI Convention Center, Mérida, Mexico
Event Details: IYL2015Closing.org
12 September 2015 - Wonders of Light: Family Science Fun (10:00 AM to 3:00 PM) at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM.

12 September 2015 - Light for a Better World: A Celebration of U.S. Innovation (6:00 PM to 7:30 PM) in at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C.

OSA Student Chapter Leadership IYL 2015 Brainstorming Session (video)
OSA Annual Meeting, Frontiers in Optics (FiO), Orlando, FL, October 2013

Optics4Kids logo
Explore the Optics4Kids website where you can explore the world of optics with your friends and family.