Do You Know Today, May 16, is International Light Day (ILD)?

Starting from 2018, each year, the International Day of Light is celebrated on 16 May. UNESCO and other scientific collaboration established International Ligh Day mainly to raise awareness of the role light plays in science and in fields like energy, medicine, and energy.

The International Day of Light is administered from the International Basic Science Programme (IBSP) of UNESCO by a Steering Committee that includes representatives from UNESCO as well as: organizations like the American Institute of Physics (AIP), the American Physical Society (APS), Bosca, the European Centres for Outreach in Photonics (ECOP), the European Physical Society (EPS), the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD), the IEEE Photonics Society (IPS), the International Commission on Illumination (CIE), lightsources.org - the international network of accelerator based light sources, Light: Science and Applications, The Optical Society (OSA), Philips Lighting, the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE), the Synchrotron-Light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (SESAME) and Thorlabs.

May 16 was chosen as the International Light Day as May 16 is the anniversary of the first successful operation of the laser in 1960 by physicist and engineer, Theodore Maiman and subsequently, on July 7, 1960, Maiman and his employer, Hughes Aircraft Company conducted a press conference to announce the new laser system to the world.

There is no confusion that light plays a central role in the lives of living beings. They contribute us from the process of photosynthesis to the space missions, to the evolution process. Through the continuous study and understanding of the fundamental properties of light, we have been able to use it as our need and requirement such as alternative energy sources, in the medical as a diagnostics tool, light-speed internet, and also shaped our understanding of the universe. The fundamental research on topics of light started some centuries ago but still, researchers think many remained to be understood and are restlessly exploring more about lights.

For instance, Kitab al-Manazir, a book of optics, of Ibn Al-Haytham, published in 1015, and Einstein’s work at the beginning of the 20th century have really changed the way we think about light.

References and Further Readings:

  1. UNESCO

  2. International Day of Light