Downing Street Ceremony Heralds the international Year of Light 2015

Switching on the lights on the Downing Street Christmas tree not only marked the festive season in the UK, but also signalled the lead-up to 2015, the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015 (IYL 2015).


A trio of lights was placed on the Downing Street tree on December 9th to mark the coming year. The lights feature a seasonal interpretation of the IYL 2015 symbol – a parade of reindeer in a spectrum of colours that is also used in the IYL’s Sun logo.

This initiative is part of the activities prepared by the UK National Committee for the IYL 2015. In the UK, over 40 individuals and organisations representing science, engineering, culture and the arts are working together to mark the IYL 2015 through an impactful national programme of events and activities. The Institute of Physics (IOP), a founding partner for the IYL 2015, have taken on the role of coordinating national events across the UK.

Credits: John O'Brien
Credits: John O'Brien

Dr. Beth Taylor, Chair of the UK National Committee for the IYL 2015, commented:

We couldn’t wish for a better start to the year than to have it celebrated in the lights of the Downing Street Christmas tree. This gives us a great foundation to build on as we work to make an impact, and achieve our key goals, throughout 2015. I am very grateful to the team at 10 Downing Street and the lighting specialists who have made this possible.

The piece, The International Year of Light in a Christmas Setting is by Peter Phillipson and Inessa Demidova.

Read the IOP Press Release here.

About IOP

The Institute of Physics (IOP) is a leading scientific society. IOP is a charitable organisation with a worldwide membership of more than 50,000, working together to advance physics education, research and application.

IOP engages with policymakers and the general public to develop awareness and understanding of the value of physics and, through IOP Publishing, it is a world leader in professional scientific communications.

The IOP is a Founding Partner of the IYL 2015.

For more information visit or follow IOP on Twitter @physicsnews.

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.


Toby Shannon
UK international Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015 Coordinator

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