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International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL): a United Nations program

IYL 2015 Final Report

The official final report on the UN's International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies in 2015 (IYL2015) was released 3 October 2016 highlighting a successful community partnership for global outreach, including 13,168 events in 147 countries. At the presentation of the final report, SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs urged the conversation about photonics sparked by IYL2015 forward to meet global needs. (PDF 40 MB)

Robert Lieberman

Dr. Robert Lieberman at São Carlos Physics Institute, SPIE’s President Elect, talks about the impact of light and light-based technologies on the world. Optics is everywhere and is fundamental to information communication. (Run time 10:20)

Multimedia presentations: Light for a Better world captures the various speakers at the International Year of Light event held in Washington, DC, 12 September 2015. (Run time: approximately 20 minutes for each presenter)

video: LIGHT2015 -- Lighting the Future

LIGHT2015 -- Lighting the Future, a video developed by the National University of Galway as part of the LIGHT2015 Project aims to encourage venture capitalists and industry who have not yet invested in photonics innovation to do so, pointing out that photonics supports 10% of the European economy but its impact is much greater. The creators of the video hope to inspire others about the opportunities for business and growth now and in the future. (Run time 4:38.)

International Year of Light in Washington, D.C.: Light at Play Radiance Orb

Fun was the word of the day at the Wonders of Light: Family Science Fun day held at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. Over 500 children and parents participated in activities as diverse as building kaleidoscopes to being a science reporter for a day. An evening symposium and reception followed at the National Academy of Sciences. Light for a Better World: A Celebration of U.S. Innovation saw speakers from the National Science Foundation, GE Lighting and AIM Photonics -- and two Nobel Laureates. Read the SPIE press release.

image for IYL photo contest The SPIE International Year of Light Photo Contest was organized by SPIE Professional magazine to raise awareness about light and light-based technologies during IYL2015. International judges selected 3 photos depicting light and light-based technologies in daily life for top prizes (at left, the third-place winner). The People’s Choice Award went to Handi Laksono for his image highlighting difficulties encountered by the world's 1.5 billion people who lack access to electricity.

As the international society for optics and photonics, SPIE is delighted to play a key role in the International Year of Light as a Founding Partner.

"Civilization would not exist without light—light from our sun and light from the focused and coherent lasers that have now become an important part of our daily lives; from scanning packages at supermarkets, to eye surgery, and to IT communications across oceans. The International Year of Light will surely raise awareness of these powerful discoveries and their present wide-ranging, light-based technologies, which are significant contributors to the world market. As importantly, the International Year of Light will inspire future discoveries and applications for one of the most important elements of our existence: light."

— Dr. Ahmed Zewail, Linus Pauling Chair, Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Physics; Director, Physical Biology Center for Ultrafast Science & Technology, California Institute of Technology, USA

International Year of Light logo color   International Year of Light logo B&W

Download International Year of Light logos from SPIE

Translations of International Year of Light logos 

View International Year of Light logo use and brand identity guidelines (PDF 1 MB)

IYL Founding Partners

DPG lightsources.org   EPS   AIP
IOP 1001 Inventions IYL founding partner ICTP logo

IYL Patron Sponsors

Philips  IALD  ThorLabs

Light-based Industries: Industries based on light are major economic drivers, and the many applications of light-based technologies have revolutionized and impacted society through medicine, communications, entertainment and culture.

Light-based technologies directly respond to the needs of humankind by providing access to information, promoting sustainable development, and increasing well-being and standard of living -- perfect examples include the inexpensive solar-powered solid-state lighting that has replaced toxic kerosene for indoor use in some developing regions, remote sensing from space that tracks crop health, major storms, and underground water sources, and non-invasive screening of infants for life-threatening breathing or digestive conditions.