May 16, 2019, marked the 2019 International Day of Light, a global event generating awareness and appreciation for light and light-based technologies, and the role they play across all facets of life.
“From the birth of the universe to the creation of all kinds of new technologies, from X-rays to radio waves, in fields as diverse as medicine, agriculture, energy, optics, and countless others, light has shaped – and continues to shape – our world,” said Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO. “By understanding light, we are able to achieve the greatest of scientific and technological progress.”
The event is organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in partnership with lighting groups, companies, and academic partners across the world. It was inspired by UNESCO’s 2015 International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies, which saw more than 13,000 activities organized across 147 countries.
“An International Day of Light will provide an enduring follow-up to the International Year of light in raising the profile of science and technology, stimulating education, and improving the quality of life worldwide,” UNESCO declared.
2019’s International Day of Light included 200 events across 54 countries, which took place on and around May 16. Canadian highlights included:
- Light Fantastic: An educational event for primary and high school children emphasizing the importance and far-reaching effects of laser invention (Burnaby, BC).
- The Optical Terrace: A public outreach event created to generate interest and excitement of photonics to the general public (Montreal, Quebec).
- “Light Sprang Forth 2”: An online exhibit celebrating International Light Day through an artistic lens (Victoria, BC).
- Blue Skies, Red Sunsets, and Polarized Light: A polarized lighting education program for elementary students (Kitchener, Ontario).
- Passive Silicon Photonics Fabrication Training 2019: A hands-on training program at the University of British Columbia focusing on the design, fabrication, and test of (photonic integrated circuits) PICs.