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The International Day of Light : a United Nations Program

16 May | The International Day of Light

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

The 2021 SPIE IDL Photo Contest was launched on 16 May as part of the celebration. The contest is now closed. 

Congratulations to the SPIE Student Chapters who won the IDL edition of the SPIE 2021 Optics Outreach Games! See the winners here.

Celebrate IDL Yearound

Decorate your social media platforms

Get IDL virtual backgrounds for your Zoom meetings

Add IDL wallpapers to your computer or smartphone

Tag your images #LightDay2021

Pledge to #TrustScience

Learn more and take the pledge to #TrustScience for IDL 2021

For this year’s IDL celebration, we have partnered with IEEE Photonics Society, OSA, UNESCO, and the IDL Steering Committee to highlight the importance and credibility of science-based decisions. 

Join more than 3,000 supporters of science – including educators, scientists, engineers, healthcare professionals, Nobel Laureates, science enthusiasts, organizations, and students from around the world – by signing the pledge and sharing the opportunity with your friends and colleagues.

Together we can form a resounding global voice in support of the scientific method and fact-based inquiry while showcasing the importance of optics and photonics.

Sign the pledge  ›

Promote the International Day of Light

Download the Official Logo
Access SPIE IDL Resources

The SPIE International Day of Light Photo Contest

See contest results

Congratulations to this year's contest winners. View the winning photographs, and other beautiful submissions.

The SPIE Annual International Day of Light Photo 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.

Learn more and get inspired by the winning images of our 2021 contest, including those from our Youth Category and Technology Categories, as well as past photo contest submissions.

Volunteers Needed

Help translate IDL promotional materials for global use.

Fill out our volunteer form, let us know what languages you speak fluently, and we will follow up with you.