Words and Light Anthology

The organisers of the International Year of Light 2015 Literary Competition “Words and Light” at ITMO University, St. Petersburg, Russia, are delighted to present the collection of best works submitted to the competition. “Words and Light” was a one-of-its-kind event, initiated purposely for this International Year and Light-baser Technologies 2015 (IYL 2015), aimed at being a tribute to all the writers inspired by Light, writers interested in the Science of Light, and scientists-poets, past and present.


More than 400 authors from 19 countries took part in the competition, namely Australia, Austria, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lithuania, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Turkey, the Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. The anthology, depicting a breath of themes and genres, is beautifully illustrated by the works of the winners of the Poster competition “Let there be Light!”, organised by the same university.

By emphasizing the connections between Light, Science, and Literature, the ultimate aims of “Words and Light” were to attract the attention of as many people as possible to the significance and aims of the IYL 2015 and promote Dialogue and Peace through underlining the universal and all-embracing character of Light and the sense of togetherness it entails.  

Bringing together such a collection of unique words and poems together with such inspiring images has created a unique one-of-its-kind book which will endure as a lasting testimony to the events of 2015. I would like to thank the organisers for their hard work and for giving the International Year of Light such a superb souvenir.

John Dudley, IYL 2015 Steering Committee Chair

“Words and Light” is the result of authentic team work and would not have been possible without the coordinated efforts of its members: Ana Luisa Simoes Gamboa, initiator of the project, researcher at the Centre for Information Optical Technologies, Evgeny Raskin, vice-head of the Department of Youth Affairs, Margarita Petrova, head of the Students Scientific Society, Aleksey Itin, vice-dean of the Faculty of Laser and Lighting Engineering and head of Development of Students' Media at the Department of Youth Affairs, Yulia Mokretsova, vice-head of the Students' Union, Valery Bondarev, head of the Students' Union of the Faculty of Information Technologies and Programming, Elena Kurtseva, director of the Centre for Students' Print Media, and Ekaterina Kalkina, head of the Section for the Organisation of Sport and Mass Events.

About ITMO University

ITMO University (St. Petersburg National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics) is one of the leading Russian universities in the fields of IT and Light-based Science and Technology. With about 15,000 students, the university boasts an ever-growing number of winners of Russian and international competitions in physics, math, computer science, etc. ITMO University’s team is the only six-time winner of the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest world championship. The university’s fields of expertise include electro-optical systems of observation and measurement, quantum optical systems, optics of femto- and attosecond pulses, terahertz optics and spectroscopy, medical laser systems, nanomaterials, photonic materials, optical sensors for industrial and environmental applications, computing systems, digital control systems of automobile engines and transport robots, and optical electronic space-based systems.

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 lightsources.org 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.


Ana Luisa Simoes Gamboa
Coordinator of the "Words and Light" Literary Competition

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