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IYL 'Women in Light Science' exhibition launches at Spanish National Meeting in Optics

01 September 2015

Maria Goeppert-Mayer IYL2015 postcard
Nobel Laureate Maria Goeppert-Mayer is
featured in a "Women in Light Science"
exhibition organized by SEDOPTICA and the
Women in Physics Group of the RSEF;

above, a poster showing Goeppert-Mayer was
among several produced by SPIE for
IYL2015.

An exhibition celebrating 12 women researchers who contributed to fundamental discoveries in optics and photonics has been organized by the Spanish Society of Optics (SEDOPTICA) and the Women in Physics Group of the Spanish Royal Society of Physics (RSEF). The exhibition, "Women in Light Science" was launched during the opening ceremony of the XI Spanish National Meeting in Optics, being held in Salamanca 1-4 September.

Along with SEDOPTICA and the Women in Physic Group of RSEF, the exhibition is also sponsored by the Gender Commission of the University of Valencia, the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO), the Association of Scientific and Technologist Women (AMIT), and SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics.

Two of the objectives of the United Nations in the Declaration of 2015 of the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL2015) are "to promote women's empowerment in science" and "to promote education among young people."

The organizers followed both lines in designing the exhibition, to give visibility to the 12 women and their contributions, and to help to create female models for future generations, especially for young female students.

Exhibition highlights include:

  • Thanks to Madame de Châtelet's learnings and her translation of Newton's Principia Mathematica,the theories of Newton were reported.
  • Martha Coston invented the Coston flare, a device for signaling at sea that contributed to saving many lives.
  • Henrietta Swan Leavitt discovered the method to know the size of our galaxy and the scale of the universe.
  • Hedwig Kohn's meticulous work in spectrometry and pyrometry are considered as illumination standards.
  • Katherine Burr Blodgett invented low-reflectance "invisible" glass.
  • Yvette Cauchois created an X-ray spectrograph used to discover new elements of the periodic system.
  • Nobel Laureate Maria Goeppert-Mayer understood the physics of photons and predicted two-photon absorptioin, widely used in optics today.
  • Marie Luise Spaeth invented the dye-laser and the developments of laser rangefinder.
  • Rosalind Franklin registered the famous Photo 51 identifying the helical structure of DNA.
  • Martha Jane Bergin Thomas was a pioneering genius in the field of lighting research and was dedicated to the application of phosphors technology toward the advancements in electricity.
  • Jean Mcpherson Bennett realized precise methods for measuring optical surfaces.
  • Jocelyn Bell Burnell discovered the first pulsar.

For more information about IYL 2015 activities in Spain, please see the IYL 2015 Spanish National website.