NUI Galway Embraces The Power Of Light With Photonics!

The School of Physics at NUI Galway (Ireland) will host a series of outreach events to coincide with Science Week 2015 in Ireland and the 18th Galway Science and Technology Festival this November. Events will commence with Galway's own PhotonicSplash, an opening lighting event at NUI Galway’s iconic Quadrangle on the evenings of Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 of November, marking the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015 and showcasing the importance of Photonics in our lives. Photonics encompasses all of the different ways scientists and engineers can manipulate, control and harness the power of light.


NUI Galway’s Tissue Optics and Microcirculation Imaging (TOMI) research group as a partner of the GoPhoton! initiative, have developed photonic apps for android smartphones and tablets which include a heart rate monitor and embarrassment detector. These and some other fun apps intended for children, schools and the general public will demonstrate how the technology in these fantastic devices would not be possible without Photonics. There will be lots of equipment, toolkits and demos provided within an informal educational framework, which will allow students to learn so much about photonics.

PhotonicSplash will also feature hands-on experiments, educational videos, training, demos, posters and artworks indoors on the Concourse in front of the Dillon Theatre at NUI Galway on Sunday, 22 November. Suitable for all ages and families, the events will highlight the importance of photonics and ignite the interest of children, students and adults alike. The demos will be run by TOMI members who will represent the NUI Galway International Society of Optics and Photonics (SPIE) Chapter.

Two PhotonicSplash events called ‘LIGHTtalks’ will take place on Friday, 20 November from 11am-12pm in the old Moore Institute Seminar Room in the Arts Science Building at NUI Galway. Both talks will be preceded by promotional photonics productions that have been produced in conjunction with the European project LIGHT2015. A talk about ‘Careers in Photonics’ will be given by Professor David Sampson and aimed at 2nd and 3rd level students, industry, entrepreneurs and the public providing information about a career in photonics.

Resident researcher and Compact Imaging Head of Application Development Ireland, Dr Paul McNamara will give the second talk entitled ‘Photonics and Industry’ aimed at industry, entrepreneurs and the public, explaining how industry and photonics are linked and how Photonics is crucial to every aspect of technology in modern everyday life.

As part of the final day Exhibition of the Galway Science and Technology Festival on Sunday, 22 November, young people, families and adults of all ages can experience the amazing Laser Harp show by Britain’s Got Talent 2012 Semi Finalist, Greig Stewart from 11am-4pm in the Dillon Theatre in the Arts Concourse Building at NUI Galway. The PhotonicSplash promises to put Photonics at the forefront of everyone minds at this year’s Festival with fun for all ages and interests.

Professor Martin Leahy, School of Physics at NUI Galway, said: “Next week's photonics splash events represent a major part of NUI Galway's contribution to the UNESCO international year of light 2015. We have an exciting array of events lined up and we do hope that many of you can join us on campus during the week.”

For more information on IYL 2015 activities in Ireland visit the Irish IYL 2015 website.

About NUI Galway

NUI Galway is one of Ireland’s foremost centres of academic excellence. Over 17,000 students undertake an extensive range of studies at the University, which is renowned for the quality of its graduates.

NUI Galway is a research-led University with internationally recognised expertise in areas including Biomedical Science and Engineering, Web Science, Human Rights, Marine Science, Energy and Environmental Science, Applied Social Sciences and Public Policy, and Humanities, in particular literature, theatre and Irish Studies.

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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.


Sean O’Gorman
NUI Galway

Lydia Sanmartí-Vila
GoPhoton! 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