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

Spire of Dublin, International Year of Light Ireland

Light & Shadow, an International Year of Light (IYL) event held in June at the University College Dublin suburban campus at Belfield, celebrated applications of light and light-based technologies. In March, the St. Patrick's Festival partnered with UNESCO through IYL Ireland to illuminate the capital's historic Monument of Light, also known the Spire of Dublin, in green.

Read the SPIE news item to learn more.

International Year of Light student outreach in Texas

"Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day" at the University of Texas at Austin and the building of a Goldberg machine at the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León are among the first activities presented with International Year of Light activity grants from SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics. The society awarded 26 IYL grants to SPIE Student Chapters to help raise awareness of photonics in 2015.

Read the SPIE press release to learn more.

image for IYL photo contest graphic for Vote NowThe 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. Another 32 photos are eligible for the People’s Choice Award. Voting for the People’s Choice Award ends 15 August.

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.

The International Year of Light 2015 recognizes 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. Listen to Nobel Prize winners invite you to join them in celebrating the International Year of Light:

How can you become an Ambassador for the International Year of Light? There are many ways to get involved:

 • Learn about the International Year of Light: FAQs (PDF 1 MB)
 • Create your own exhibition
 • Present to inform and educate (PDF 2MB)
 • Become a sponsor: contact Robert Dentel 
 • Read the SPIE Journal of Biomedical Optics special section: Light for Life (published 1 June 2015)
 • Read the SPIE Journal of Photonics for Energy special section: Education and Training in Light for Energy (publishing 2015)
 •  Learn more about light with the National Science Foundation

"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)

Light for the Future:
The science and technology of light are essential for the future development of humankind, and in the search of solutions to solve global problems in sustainability and healthcare through international cooperation. We hope that International Year of Light will increase global awareness of the central role of light in human activities through optics and photonics, and that the brightest young minds continue to be attracted to careers in this field.

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.



IYL Calendar

Click for a Complete List of Global IYL Events

Sponsoring 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.

Download Project Prospectus


International Year of Light t-shirts, ties, scarves. Shop now.