Inspired by Light: Reflections from the International Year of Light 2015 Book

Inspired by Light: Reflections from the International Year of Light 2015, is a collection of 56 blog posts from researchers, industry professionals, students, NGO representatives, a Nobel laureate, and other authors from 24 countries that were published on the IYL 2015 blog. This book, to be published in January 2016 for distribution at the IYL 2015 Closing Ceremony, was produced by SPIE in concert with the European Physical Society and the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) to celebrate the achievements of IYL 2015. Contributions in the book cover, light in culture, education, science, and technology with essays that pay homage to the people throughout history who have advanced light-based technologies, and to the many ways humanity has been influenced and inspired by light.


The International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015 (IYL 2015) has been a tremendously successful global initiative with thousands of events reaching millions of people in over one hundred countries.  A very important activity of the year has been providing various forums for members of the different communities participating on IYL 2015 to be able to share their different perspectives, both with each other but also with the wider public. To this end, a cornerstone action of IYL 2015 has been the IYL 2015 blog, where volunteers generously took the time to provide a written record of their own involvement with light science and technology, or their particular involvement with the International Year of Light.

I believe that these writings and the topics that they cover give both a snapshot of the state of the art of light-based technology and its many applications, and at the same time provide a valuable and lasting testament to the commitment and passion shown by the international community to celebrate the International Year of Light.

John Dudley, Chair of the IYL 2015 Steering Committee.

We would like to thank all of those who contributed to the IYL 2015 blog during the year as well as those whose pieces were selected for this collection.

About IYL 2015

The International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies (IYL 2015) is a global initiative adopted by the United Nations (A/RES/68/221) to raise awareness of how optical technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to worldwide challenges in energy, education, agriculture, communications and health.  With UNESCO as lead agency, IYL 2015 programs will promote improved public and political understanding of the central role of light in the modern world while also celebrating noteworthy anniversaries in 2015—from the first studies of optics 1,000 years ago to discoveries in optical communications that power the Internet today.  The IYL Global Secretariat is located at the Abdus Salam International Centre of Theoretical Physics (ICTP).

The Founding Partners of IYL 2015 are the American Institute of Physics (AIP), the American Physical Society (APS), the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (DPG), the European Physical Society (EPS), the Abdus Salam International Centre of Theoretical Physics (ICTP), the IEEE Photonics Society (IPS), the Institute of Physics (IOP), Light: Science and Applications, the International Network, 1001 Inventions, The Optical Society (OSA) and the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE). 

Patron Sponsors include Bosca, the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD), Royal Philips Lighting, Thorlabs and UL.


Krisinda Plenkovich
SPIE Director of Education and Community Services

Jorge Rivero González
IYL 2015 Blog Editor

John Dudley
Steering Committee Chair
International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015

Joe Niemela
Global Coordinator (IYL Secretariat)
International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015