Dear Supporters of the International Day of Light,
It is our pleasure to introduce the first International Day of Light (IDL) newsletter for 2020.  Even though it's only January, a glance at the event calendar on the website shows that events have already been registered in 28 countries.  This is a remarkable start to the year and will only get better. And as you will see from the length of this newsletter and the many different items below, there is a lot going on! 
As a reminder, there are two particular themes of the International Day of Light for 2020.  One is an inclusive and general campaign to bring together all aspects of light under the #SeetheLight tagline and hashtag and this will be accelerating rapidly as the 16 May approaches.  You can follow progress at the campaign webpage here.   

The second theme relates to the fact that 2020 represents 60 years since the development of the laser, and there is already tremendous enthusiasm amongst the scientific community to celebrate this anniversary.  News items below describe one event that has already taken place in France, and another that is being planned in India.  In addition, our IDL Steering Committee member SPIE has placed a number of laser-related resources online, including this special logo that will be free to use together with the IDL logo by all partners organizing a laser-related event.  
An important goal of the International Day of Light is to promote the role of women in science, and a great chance to get involved early in 2020 is by supporting the United Nations International Day for Women and Girls in Science which takes place on February 11.  One way to participate is through the Institute of Physics’s online campaign which is described more below.
As you plan events for 2020, please remember that International Day of Light events do not need to be held exactly on 16 May itself.  Events at other times of the year can also be recognized on the #IDL2020 global calendar.  Whenever your event is planned, please make sure to register it on our event calendar as soon as possible, and don’t hesitate to send us more details if you have them, as we’ll be delighted to consider this for our newsletter or website. And please don’t forget that we are placing resources online regularly to help you in your planning.  Please see our recent news item here
We also welcome new organizations coming on board to support the goals of the International Day of Light. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for more information on sponsorship and support opportunities. And we describe in more detail below, industry partners are very important to the IDL goals.   
Finally, please regularly check the IDL2020 website for updates and news items and continue to reach out to us via Social Media on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram, and by email if you have any questions or you want to share any idea or resources. For a successful International Day of Light in 2020 your involvement is essential! 

John Dudley and Joe Niemela
International Day of Light 2020
Steering Committee Chairs

A Spec of Light in the Cosmos: Celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Pale Blue Dot Image

Throughout 2019, the International Astronomical Union has been celebrating it’s 100th anniversary (IAU100) through a wide variety of projects and initiatives. Over 5000 astronomy activities have taken place in 140 countries worldwide to date. The final IAU100 global project was recently announced. Pale Blue Dot: Astronomy for Global Citizenship and Environmental Awareness celebrates the 30th anniversary of the iconic image on and around 13-20 February 2020 by inviting everyone to organize activities around the topics of global citizenship and environmental awareness. 
project page has been set up for interested event organizers, where a collection of resources and activity ideas have been compiled to facilitate the organisation of activities for the IAU100 Pale Blue Dot initiative that encourage the project’s themes. You can register your event under the category “Pale Blue Dot” using this form.

Light Education with Problem-Based Learning

The PBL (Problem-Based Learning) Projects are celebrating the International Day of Light and the 60th anniversary of the first working laser through a series of webinars and workshops from April through July 2020. With funding from the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education program, the latest project, PBL in Advanced Photonics Manufacturing, is creating eight new online “Challenges” (multimedia case studies) with companies such as IPG Photonics, Coherent and Convergent Photonics and with the AIM Photonics Academy headquartered at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Recorded on site with engineers, scientists and technicians: problems tackled by the company or university are turned into multimedia challenges for students to solve. Thus, students learn content, problem solving skills and teamwork through engagement with real-world problems.
In spring 2020 the project will offer two webinars to interested educators, Introduction to Photonics and Introduction to PBL.  A select group of secondary and post-secondary teachers will then attend a four-day workshop at Springfield (MA) Technical Community College in July to practice the new Challenges in preparation for using them in their own classrooms in the coming academic year. The new Challenges will be added to the 20 previously developed Challenges on topics from laser wire stripping to ergonomic lighting for submarines. 

Images: Left: Peter Su, PhD candidate in Material Science and Engineering at MIT, explains the testing of an integrated photonics methane sensor for a PBL Challenge Right: Steve Wirta and Joseph Roy, IPG Applications Lab (Marlborough, MA), set up a laser for a PBL Challenge on wobble welding.

Day of Light and Laser Anniversary plans in India take shape!  

Following a meeting between the IDL India national node led by Professor Zahid Khan and  Dr. Nakul Parashar, Director, Vigyan Prasar – a science communication institution under the Indian Ministry of Science & Technology, a number of ambitious plans are being set in place to celebrate the International Day of Light and the 60th anniversary of the first operation of the laser.  

These will include activities such as a Workshop on the "Laser and Its Applications"; Hands-on workshops involving school children in which they will perform experiments using optical kits; Live TV shows for hundreds of school children with their queries on Light and Lasers to be telecasted; written material and books on "Light" and "Lasers" in regional languages.  Of course, many other events will occur locally by individual enthusiasts and education institutions in coordination with the national node.   One special session on lasers is planned during the National Urdu Science Congress 2020, to be organized by Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad on 25 & 26 February 2020. In this session papers on topics such as what is the laser, medical applications, laser shows & the future of the laser will be presented to an audience that includes under and post graduate science students, researchers and science communicators. A separate program for school children is also planned for introduction of optics and lasers.  Detailed information on other events throughout 2020 with dates and venues will be placed on the IDL calendar as soon as events are confirmed.

For details and more information, please contact Prof. Dr. Zahid H. Khan, National Node for India for IDL 2020.
European Optical Society celebrating IDL and the 60th Anniversary of the Laser

The European Optical Society (EOS) will continue to promote the IDL to its members throughout 2020. To celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the first operation of the laser, the EOS Annual Meeting (EOSAM) will include a special talk on the subject. EOSAM is held in Porto, Portugal, 7-11 September 2020. EOSAM submission is open and on top of the scientific program, industrial exhibition is included in the schedule. The conference includes several networking events, e.g. cruise with Port wine tasting and a gala dinner at an old monastery, built in 1604. EOS welcomes you to EOSAM in Porto!

EOS organizes international conferences, scientific, technical and cultural meetings, training courses, exhibitions, etc., and maintain relations with other societies and organizations, national or international, having similar interests.

EOS is a non-profit society, and an umbrella organization for all national optical societies around Europe. The members extend from Europe to all over the world. Their mission is to bring together and encourage the cooperation of all with an interest in optics, optoelectronics and related scientific fields, to make practical use of research results, and to support the industrial exploitation of optics. 

The European Optical Society (EOS) is the European platform for optics and photonics professionals.

Read more about the EOS Annual Meeting:      
Celebrate the United Nations International Day of Women and Girls in Science
The United Nations International Day of Women and Girls in Science is celebrated every year on February 11 to support the increased participation of women and girls in science. At present, less than 30 per cent of researchers worldwide are women and indeed, only around 30 per cent of all female students select STEM-related fields in higher education.  
In many cases, girls and women are steered away from science-related fields by long-standing gender stereotypes, but there are sometimes very effective and simple ways to address this.  One remarkable initiative that has been run for several years now by the Institute of Physics (IOP) has been a social media campaign on Twitter encouraging women around the world to tweet selfies along with brief descriptions of what they do.  Participants have ranged from PhD students to senior scientists in major research organizations, and the Tweets and photos posted online have revealed the incredible diversity of how women are actively involved in science.
To take part in the initiative, all you have to do is tweet a selfie on the 11 February, add some lines about what you do and include the #iamaphysicist hashtag in the post. If your work involves more than just physics (the case for many of us) then feel free to add an extra hashtag (e.g. #iamateacher) but do make sure that you always include #iamaphysicist so that it’s picked up by the campaign. If you want some ideas for posts based on previous years, just search the hashtag on Twitter for inspiration.

Getting onto Twitter

If you do not have a Twitter account, it takes no more than 5 minutes to create one. Go to this link here and follow the simple instructions. You will be able to choose a Twitter username (be creative if yours is taken!) and if you like, you can embellish a profile with photos and brief information.  The community of scientists on Twitter is often referred to as “Science Twitter” and following what’s going on is a great way to follow the activities of people doing similar things to you.  If you don’t know where to start, try following @IDL2020 and see where that takes you!   

Celebrating the Laser in France

Celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the laser are being planned throughout 2020, and began with a tremendous one-day conference in Paris on 7 January.  Organized by the French Federation of Scientific Societies F2S, the event brought together science and industry leaders to review the many innovations that have resulted from laser science, and to raise awareness of the need for future investment in research, technology and education.  The conference was inaugurated with a lecture from French Nobel laureate Gerard Mourou, and followed by talks covering areas from laser history to future perspectives in quantum technologies.  It is expected that that event held in Paris is only the beginning and many similar conferences will be held throughout France during 2020.

Images: Left: Nobel Laureate Gerard Mourou giving the inaugural conference of the French 60 years of the laser celebration in Paris on 7 January.  Right: Costel Subran, President of the F2S, showing the first CW diode pumped Ruby laser. Credit: Costel Subran
Industry in the International Day of Light 

From the early developments in quantum theory linked to studying the emission properties of streetlamps, to the first laser operation in the Hughes Research Laboratories, industry and academic partners have often worked hand in hand to develop the technologies that we all benefit from today.  Indeed, the International Day of Light Steering Committee includes several major industry partners, and we are proud to include them in the planning and organization of events worldwide.  
An important place where academic, the public and industry meet is at the Trade Fair, where partners release their latest products in light-based technologies.  Indeed, during the International Year of Light in 2015, one such Trade Fair in Munich (LASER The World of Photonics Congress) saw UNESCO representatives attend and participate in a special symposium and stress how photonics addresses societal challenges.
During 2020, many of our partners will be hosting large conferences and trade fairs throughout the year, including the China International Optoelectronic Exposition (CIOE) which will be held at the Shenzhen World Exhibition and Convention Center on September 9-11, 2020.  The conference brings together more than 2,000 exhibitors and will include more than 60 concurrent forums to discuss the latest research and breakthroughs in the fields of optical materials, communications, manufacturing, sensing, and imaging.  For more information please contact the organizing committee. 

Other major industry tradeshows from the photonics sector that will be highlighting the International Day of Light will take place during the conferences Photonics West and CLEO Laser Science to Photonics Applications

Image: Industry trade shows are an important forum for the exchange of ideas and information between the research and development communities. Credit: CIOE 

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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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