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 IDL 2023

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

Meet Jessie Christiansen, a NASA scientist working on detecting and characterizing exoplanets; Matthew Weed, a Luminar engineer and product strategist working on lidar sensors for automotive safety; and Paula Kirya, an undergraduate student in bioengineering, whose career vignettes will be rolled out on 4, 10, and 16 of May respectively.

We partner annually with IEEE Photonics Society and 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

2023 IDL photo contest

Take aim with our annual photo contest

The SPIE Annual International Day of Light Photo Contest is open for entries from 16 May through 16 September. The contest aims to raise awareness about IDL and the vital role that light and light-based technologies play in daily life. Amateur and professional photographers alike submit photos for a chance to win US$2,500.

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.