DAY OF PHOTONICS 2014 as prelude to IYL 2015 worldwide activities

On 21 October 2014 the inaugural edition of the DAY OF PHOTONICS celebrated photonics worldwide. During the day over 100 activities were organized in more than 30 countries around the world and included all kinds of public demonstrations on the impact of photonics on our day-to-day life as well as internal corporate discussions on business opportunities. The initiative was originated and coordinated by the European Photonics Industry Consortium (EPIC), a Gold Associate of the IYL 2015.

DAY OF PHOTONICS 2014 activities in Indonesia. Credits: EPIC
DAY OF PHOTONICS 2014 activities in Indonesia. Credits: EPIC

The DAY OF PHOTONICS commemorates the date that the General Conference of Weights And Measures adopted the current speed of light value on 1983. On its 31st anniversary, over a hundred activities related to photonics were organized around the world. At the moment, reports and pictures are being collected from all these activities but there could be much more since the DAY OF PHOTONICS was promoted as a bottom-up approach, therefore, no one really has the complete overview.

Director General of EPIC Carlos Lee says:

It is exciting to find out about events that took place that I was totally unaware of. I see it as a good sign that we lost control of the initiative and that occasionally it took life by itself!

The activities that took place for DAY OF PHOTONICS are a rich source of inspiration for organizations that want to do something at the occasion of the International Year of Light in 2015. Simple things like a cake with 'Day of Photonics' written on it, events like a laser show in the parking lot, visible things like giving out a t-shirt to everyone or releasing helium balloons at midnight, activities like the family company visits, or just using the opportunity to raise money for charity are just a few examples of the various activities performed during the DAY OF PHOTONICS. Some managed to get public visibility with an appearance on television in Estonia and Russia, or newspaper coverage in Finland. Most of the activities organized did not cost much, it is mainly a question of getting it done, and therefore the initiative relies on the engagement of committed volunteers who actively promote the photonics industry.

For 2015 EPIC will coordinate a collective action to distribute hundreds of laser educational training kits in schools, and support the initiative "EPIC Adopt A Classroom" launched in 2013 together with LASER classroom.

Chairman of the IYL 2015 Steering Committee John Dudley comments:

This is a spectacular success, and shows how bottom-up events in photonics outreach driven by community enthusiasm can grow and develop given opportunity and impetus. EPIC is to be commended for its leadership and initiative in driving the DAY OF PHOTONICS, and we can already see how it has stimulated interest in photonics worldwide. We are all looking forward to discovering even more public events being run in unexpected places throughout the world in the International Year of Light next year.

The next edition of DAY OF PHOTONICS will take place on 21 October 2016.

Pictures of DAY OF PHOTONICS 2014:

More information on the DAY OF PHOTONICS:

About EPIC

The European Photonics Industry Consortium is the industry association that promotes the sustainable development of organisations working in the field of photonics in Europe. We foster a vibrant photonics ecosystem by maintaining a strong network and acting as a catalyst and facilitator for technological and commercial advancement. EPIC publishes market and technology reports, organizes technical workshops and B2B roundtables, coordinates EU funding proposals, advocacy and lobbying, education and training activities, standards and roadmaps, pavilions at exhibitions.

European Photonics Industry Consortium
14 Rue de la Science
1040 Brussels

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 International Centre of Theoretical Physics ICTP. 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 for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), the IEEE Photonics Society (IPS), the Institute of Physics (IOP), the International Network, 1001 Inventions, The Optical Society (OSA) and the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE).

IYL 2015 Contacts

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

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

Jean-Paul Ngome Abiaga
Assistant Programme Specialist
International Basic Sciences Programme