The International Day of Light in 2020 was characterized by rapid reorganization to online and hybrid events, which yielded remarkable success. There were celebrations in 69 countries reaching an audience of 750,000+. You can find detailed results in this report
We are now enthusiastically preparing for the International Day of Light 2021, and we can anticipate a strong focus on hybrid and online events in many countries. Although virtual events cannot replace hands-on outreach, they do provide other opportunities to hear from a broad range of international speakers and allow us to reach a much larger audience. Therefore, one of our key aims in the coming months will be to provide resources and ideas to help effectively organize successful events in 2021 with the flexibility to adapt depending on how the global health situation evolves. We will also be developing new initiatives with international partners. One example is that we will be working especially closely with the International Astronomical Union to promote broad public engagement with science and highlight the wonder of the light from the cosmos.  
During 2020, we have seen more than ever the importance of science communication. There is a strong need to build public awareness that light science and technology provide not only our understanding of pandemics, but also the preventative measures, treatments and diagnostic tools to counter them. The emphasis of the International Day of Light in 2021 will be on improving means of outreach and interaction between science and society. As well as continuing to explain the many societal applications of light science, we will stress more widely the key messages of how appreciating and supporting science and technology is a necessary and central part of today’s interconnected world as well as a universal benefit to all.  
As we begin our planning and develop new resources for you, we encourage all within the International Day of Light community to continue following and engaging with our social media channels using the hashtag #LightDay2021 and the official channels: @IDLOfficial on Twitter, @DayOfLight2021 on Instagram,  and the @InternationalDayOfLight on Facebook. And once again, we acknowledge the continued commitment and support from the Steering Committee and other partners. Information about our partnership and how to get involved is here.
For further information, please contact the International Day of Light secretariat:
John Dudley
IDL 2018 Steering Committee Chair
Joseph Niemela 
UNESCO-ICTP Category 1 Institute
Bethany Downer
IDL Communications Coordinator
Celebrate IDL2020 From Your Home!

Although many activities that have been planned for the International Day of Light 2020 on May 16 will no longer be able to take place as scheduled, there is no reason we can’t celebrate virtually. In these challenging times, let’s come together to share the role of light in our lives! We are excited to announce two new initiatives for IDL2020:

Share How you Celebrate Light on Social Media

Let’s build some momentum and excitement for the annual International Day of Light on May 16th. We invite our network to post on social media using #IDL2020 and #SeeTheLight with images that capture how light influences our lives in the broadest sense. Some ideas include sharing a picture of: 

  • how the science or technology of light improves our lives

  • a natural phenomenon related to light or colour
  • how light is used in art or culture

  • yourself working with or just enjoying light in some way

  • your photonics laboratory experiment

  • your favorite book about light

  • your favorite astronomical object or astrophotography (if you are an astronomer)

  • how you use optics in education

Call for Videos for the International Day of Light

We encourage you to submit a video that showcases how you study, celebrate and/or enjoy light. The International Day of Light Secretariat will select videos to be shared on the official IDL social media pages on 16 May.. Videos must be no longer than 1 minute and be submitted through this form by 14 May. Some ideas for video submissions include:​

  • explain and/or demonstrate your photonics or light-related research (including students)

  • how do you use and enjoy light while you stay/work at home?

  • show us your favorite light-based technology

  • create an astrophotography time-lapse or presentation, or explain how you conduct astrophotography in your region

  • find a laser in your home

  • how do you use and celebrate light in your culture?

The complete rules and guidelines are provided on the video submission form

Updating Your Event Plans for the 2020 International Day of Light

Because of the recent outbreak of COVID-19, cities and countries worldwide are putting into place a number of containment measures that seriously impact the organization of conferences and public events.  As a result, many activities that have been planned for the International Day of Light 2020 (IDL2020) on May 16 will no longer be able to take place as scheduled. Whilst we appreciate that this will be disappointing, it is essential to prioritize health above all, and we would like to stress to everyone the importance of following all local and national guidelines that are being put into place to safeguard our wellbeing.  

Although the International Day of Light recognizes the anniversary of the first laser operation on 16 May, events throughout 2020 can still take place with official recognition as an IDL2020 activity. Instead of cancelling outright, you may wish to simply announce rescheduling to a later date to be confirmed once we see how the global situation evolves.

Please contact Bethany Downer to update your event information (such as dates or event description) on the IDL Events page.

Making Use of IDL Resources for Online & Virtual Events

Events that can no longer take place in-person as planned can be effectively adapted to an online or virtual format. A Quick Guide to organizing an IDL event has been established make activity implementation easier for your planned celebrations this year. Here are some resources that are freely available to help support these efforts:

This is the new tagline and campaign to help connect all of our celebrations of the International Day of Light with one voice that reaches the public throughout 2020. On the #SeeTheLight webpage, we have featured various resources, including those for event organizers and resources to learn more about light. We will be adding new content to this page as the Day of Light draws nearer.

Graphics and Banners
IDL logos in multiple languages are at the top of the general IDL resources page. Banners and Rollups can be printed easily using the high-quality PDF files provided by SPIE. Direct download here. A particular series of posters on Optics for Sustainable Development are also available here from SPIE.  An introductory IDL video in English, Spanish and French is available on the general IDL resources page. If you wish to make your own graphics or designs, we have links to available online images here.

Light up your Zoom calls with an IDL background
To help add some attractive imagery to your meetings and calls, IDL partner SPIE has created 12 Zoom Virtual Backgrounds featuring imagery from the SPIE International Day of Light Photo Contest. As well as making your meeting environment more visual, you'll be promoting IDL as well! Download the images here.

Videos on Light
A simple way to include the IDL message within a series of talks is to show some short videos.  A selection can be previewed here but a YouTube search on “International Day of Light” or “International Year of Light” provides links to many videos that may adapt well to what you may have planned.  It can also be nice to include the video message from the International Space Station that was used to inaugurate the International Day of Light in 2018. 

Ideas and Inspiration
If you want ideas for how to organize an event, we have now placed online the Programmes for the IDL2018 and IDL2019 Flagship events, as well as the Final Report of the IYL2015 and the Programmes of the IYL2015 Opening and Closing Ceremonies on a dedicated Books and Programmes page. IDL Steering Committee member SPIE has placed a range of activity plans and other posters online.

We are very grateful to a number of volunteers who have confirmed their willingness to support International Day of Light events and activities by speaking on a wide range of topics including science, technology, art, culture, education and development. Please note that although most speakers will not be available to travel while current restrictions on movement are in place, you may wish to ask if they are available to participate remotely in online events. You can find the list of available speakers here, and we encourage you to stay tuned for new information as the global situation evolves.

IDL is now on Instagram! 

 The International Day of Light now has an Instagram page! Follow @IDL2020 for updates about #IDL2020 including news and announcements, as well as a special collection of photography that features the role and beauty of light in our daily lives!

Participate in the Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day

This is an international event created to promote and celebrate the art of pinhole photography. Anyone, anywhere in the world, who makes a pinhole photograph on the last Sunday in April, can scan it and upload it to this website where it will become part of the annual Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day celebration's online gallery.

Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day was established to celebrate the joy of simple creativity using the medium of lensless photography. We want to show that, from a device as simple as a cardboard box with a tiny hole, you can create inspiring images.

The 2019 gallery features over 2000 images submitted from 57 countries worldwide.

This year, the event is being celebrated on 26 April. Photo submissions will be accepted until 30 June.

Learn more about the Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day on the event website.

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International Day of Light Secretariat · Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics ICTP · Str. Costiera 11 · Trieste, TS 34151 · Italy

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