Lightfest commemorated IYL 2015 in the UK with over 12,000 participants

On 25 September, the Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies together with the Library of Birmingham and Flatpack Film Festival hosted the Lightfest science festival - an interactive science exhibition exploring the science of light - in Brimingham (UK) to celebrate Aston University’s forthcoming 50th anniversary and the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015 (IYL 2015). The event was hosted at the Library of Birmingham, Europe’s largest public library. Over 12,000 attendees visited the Lightfest.

Light Painting Workshop
Light Painting Workshop

Over 30 unique demonstrations involving light science were presented, such as an animated LED cube, laser cutters, holograms making and light painting workshops and other colourful and exciting games. The laser harp, which has no strings, was in a great demand too.  

Professor Sergei Turitsyn, the head of Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies said: “Throughout the day we have seen a lot of happy and excited children’s faces. We hope that they will remember the joy and the fun of the day and hopefully, in a couple of year’s time, this tiny sparkle will influence their career decisions and we will get more enthusiastic young scientists”.

Laser Harp.
Laser Harp.

The event was celebrated during the IYL 2015 Weekend of Light and was funded by the European Researchers Night, a Marie Sklodowska Curie initiative, part of the European Commission Horizon 2020 programme. The Researcher Night Initiative is designed to bring scientists and researchers closer to the general public. This science festival showcased how photonics impacts our everyday life and demonstrated what researchers do in their laboratories.

For more information on IYL 2015 activities in the UK, please visit the IYL 2015 UK National website.

About Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies

Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established research-led University known for its world-class teaching quality and strong links to industry, government and commerce.

Being a part of Aston University, Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies is one of the largest photonics research groups in the UK, with a multiple research areas and delivering impact in communications and sensing.

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.


Jean Hasson
Lightfest event manager

Alisa Nemova
AIPT development manager

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