International Day of Light

16 May is the annual International Day of Light

A global celebration of light

The International Day of Light (IDL) is a global initiative that provides a focal point for the continued appreciation of light. IDL aims to raise awareness of the critical role that light-based technologies play in our lives, elevating science, technology, art, and culture to help achieve the goals of UNESCO – education, equality, and peace.

Northern lights with IDL logo

Our focus for International Day of Light

With its engaging, real-life profiles and interviews, the "Possible Through Light" campaign invites future generations of scientists, technicians, engineers, and industry leaders to consider the remarkable technological advancements that can be achieved with a career in optics and photonics.

Meet Julia Majors, a technical program manager at Reality Labs Research, Meta working on building VR tools to pass the visual Turing test, and Adam Glaser, a senior scientist at the Allen Institute developing microscopes for imaging deep into the brain. We hope these career vignettes will inspire the next generation of technicians, scientists, and engineers.

Partnering with Optica to promote the importance of light-based technologies and interesting careers in optics and photonics while raising awareness of the annual IDL celebration on 16 May. 

Learn more

IDL photo contest

Powerful imagery

The annual SPIE International Day of Light Photo Contest celebrates the vital role that light and light-based technologies play in daily life through stunning visual depictions of light in science, day-to-day activities, engineering, and nature. Submit your eye-catching images for the 2024 contest (open 16 May to 16 September) and check out the award-winning images from 2023!

Promote the International Day of Light

Plan your own celebration of light

Free resources to view and download, including the official International Day of Light logo, social media assets, digital wallpapers, and lesson plans to experiment with light.