The scientific community’s attention around the world was focused on the UNESCO headquarters in Paris on January 19 - 20, 2015. More than 1,000 international diplomats, academics and community leaders gathered within its walls, illuminated by aurora borealis installation by Finnish artist Kari Kola, to launch the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies IYL 2015.
"One of the most exciting aspects of this International Year is the way in which it brings together such a wide range of different communities, from astronomy to medicine and photonics to arts and culture," says Beth Taylor, chair of the UK National Committee for the IYL. "It creates a unique opportunity to cross traditional cultural divides and engage new and different audiences with the excitement of light and its applications."
Thanh-Nga Trinh Tran
, an employee of the Vascular Anomalies Center, told how light is used in the treatment of children’s generic spots. More than 2000 children’s life was changed because of the lighting technology. Sudhanshu Sarronwala
, a representative of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)
emphasized the climate change problem in his report. He spoke about the Earth Hour being organized by the Fund for more than seven years. In this event, the participants, including large organizations, local government agencies and private individuals turn off the lights and all electrical appliances except vital for one hour. And the American physicist William Phillips
conducted experiments with liquid nitrogen in the public eye, joking that you shouldn’t repeat them at home.
Russian Nobel Laureate Zhores Alferov made a presentation on the prospects of semiconductor heterostructures, as a pioneer of the research.
"One of the highlights of the second day of the International Year of Light opening was the performance of our Nobel Laureate. Initially his discovery - semiconductor heterostructures – were used in DVD-players, now they determine the development of energy, communications, lighting, materials processing technologies,” says Vladimir Vasilyev, the ITMO University rector. “Professor Alferov said that if you combine lasers based on semiconductor heterostructures with an optical fiber doped with ions of rare earth metals, the light output can be increased by an order. Professor Valentin Gapontsev, his colleague which combines the competence of the scientist, businessman and innovator, produces such combined systems. These qualities enabled him to reach 50% market share of high-power lasers. Professor Alferov in his lecture called Professor Valentin Gapontsev the only Russian dollar billionaire, who made his money in an honest way, which caused a lot of excitement among the public. The basic idea of Professor Alferov is that with no fundamental research new technologies will not be able to appear. As an example, he cited the nuclear projects implemented in the USSR and the USA. He continued the same idea with the story of modern technologies in optoelectronics and photonics."
"We do not know whether we’ll have the opportunity to celebrate the International Year of Light once again, so our goal is to take all of this year," said John Dudley, the president of the European Physical Society
and chairman of the Committee for the IYL 2015.