Dear Supporters of the International Day of Light,

Please let us start by wishing you all the best for 2022, and it is our pleasure to introduce the first International Day of Light (IDL) newsletter for the year. We are enthusiastically developing our plans, and are already receiving event registrations from around the world. As you will see from the content of this newsletter, a lot is going on! 

Since 2022 will be the fifth edition of the International Day of Light, this is a good time to review what has been achieved since its inauguration in 2018. The infographic below highlights the worldwide extent of activities over the last four years, and there is no comparable international outreach action that brings together so many partners around the common theme of light in science and culture. 

We are welcoming the registration of events for this year, and our event calendar is already starting to fill up!  In 2022, the International Day of Light falls on a Monday, and so we are suggesting a strong global focus during the period of 15-22 May. In fact, as we describe below, the evening of 15-16 May sees a total lunar eclipse in many parts of the world, and this can be a great way to bring in even more participants with observation events. Of course, we remain completely flexible, and events celebrating light at all other times of the year can also be recognized as part of the International Day of Light! Some of the events that have already been registered are described below, and we'll be delighted to highlight anything you may have planned if you let us know.  

Don't hesitate to pre-register dates and add a short description now, even if you may need to modify some details later. The secretariat team is always ready to help.  And please take advantage of our resources such as logos and videos and speaker lists that you can integrate into your events. And if this is the first time you are organising an activity, our quick guide is a great starting point. 

An important continuing 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 2022 is by supporting the United Nations International Day of Women and Girls in Science on Friday, February 11. See below to learn about some of the ways that members of the IDL community promote awareness of and address this important issue. 
As we begin our planning, we encourage you all to continue following and engaging with our social media channels using the hashtags #LightDay2022 and #IDL2022, and through the official channels: @IDLOfficial on Twitter, @DayOfLight2022 on Instagram, and the @InternationalDayOfLight on Facebook. And once again, we acknowledge the continued commitment and support from the Steering Committee and other partners. In this regard, we would like to add a special welcome to the International Association of Physics Students (IAPS) who have just joined as an Endorsing Partner - you can learn more about them in the news item below.  More general information about our partnership and how to get involved is here.

John Dudley and Joseph Niemela
IDL 2022 Steering Committee Chairs

Geethu Paulose
IDL Communications Coordinator

Reviewing the International Day of Light 2018-2021

As we look forward to celebrating the fifth edition of the International Day of Light on 16 May 2022, it is appropriate to review the successes of the first four editions and to review the many events that have taken place around the world. The graphic above provides a succinct summary of the global outreach of the four celebrations to date, revealing the unique place of the International Day of Light in cutting across geographical, as well as thematic boundaries. This broad impact is reflected in the messages of support that have been issued by the UNESCO Director-General. The total audience reached through International Day of Light activities since its inauguration in 2018 is estimated by our event organisers to exceed 2 million, including face-to-face activities, social media posts, video messages, and other campaigns carried out nationally and worldwide. For further information and annual reports on International Day of Light activities, please see the more detailed analysis in our news item, our dedicated reports page, as well as our news archives page

The success of the International Day of Light 2021 in Spain  

In April 2019 the Spanish Committee for the International Day of Light (IDL) accepted the proposal of the School of Optics and Optometry of Terrassa (FOOT) to organize the Spanish flagship IDL event in 2020. However, the pandemic made it challenging to have the celebration as initially planned. Despite all the difficulties, most activities prepared for the previous year finally took place in 2021 and covered over a week from 12-16 May 2021. The organising committee included representatives from the FOOT and its Board of Trustees, the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC), the City Council of Terrassa, and the Spanish Society of Optics (SEDOPTICA). 

The Spanish flagship event included more than 35 diverse activities related to light aimed to reach a wider audience highlighting the many entities and institutions of the city and its surroundings connected to light and its technologies. The activities were prepared with great enthusiasm and commitment especially those addressed to educational centres aimed at students at all levels and those in vocational training. Events also included outreach conferences and debates, a scientific cafe for young researchers, music, dance, theatre performances, exhibitions, free eye examinations to raise public awareness, and photo contests. 

The most successful event, the Route of Light, illuminating ten monuments in the city, was prepared in coordination with the Terrassa City Council and the company, Lamp. Each installation had a QR code that gave access to an amazing story about light. It is estimated that more than 1,600 people participated in the activities. All events were adapted to the requirements of the pandemic, acquiring in most cases a hybrid format.

Elisabet Perez-Cabre
Chair of the Organizing Committee 

IAPS joins the International Day of Light Steering Team 

The International Day of Light activities since 2018 have greatly benefited from both the commitment and efforts by the International Association of Physics Students (IAPS). IAPS is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation run entirely for and by physics students from around the world, with over 65,000 members and 22 National Committees. IAPS organises the International Conference of Physics Students (ICPS) and the theoretical physics competition PLANKS, excursions, and outreach events like IAPS School Day. IAPS has played an essential role in previous International Day of Light events including the inauguration at UNESCO HQ in 2018, and are now formally joining the steering team as a high-level Endorsing Partner. Having IAPS as Endorsing Partner will ensure that student perspectives are always at the forefront of future planning, and will also provide opportunities to continually support the new generation of science communicators. For the 2022 edition of the International Day of Light, the IAPS community will work to stimulate light-related events on local and national levels supported through the IAPS Light Grant and through their social media reach around the globe.  


Fitzpatrick Institute for Photonics Symposium 2022

The Fitzpatrick Institute for Photonics (FIP) at Duke University regularly organises major international symposia and outreach events in support of the International Day of Light. For 2022, the FIP Symposium will run over 7-8 March 2022 and consist of a virtual meeting. The program will include lectures from distinguished speakers, contributed papers and posters by investigators from Duke University and other academic and industrial institutions.  Special Themes will include: (i) Photonics and Astronomy: A Quest Beyond the Stars; (ii) Photonics for Health: From Medical Diagnostics to Tracking Germs and Viruses in the Pandemic Era; (iii) Next-Generation Photonic Sensing and Imaging. The Symposium will feature a Keynote lecture by Nobel Laureate Andrea Ghez, and Plenary and Invited Lectures by a host of international science leaders.  The full programme can be accessed here and registration is free, open to all and available by simply completing the form at this link.  Don't miss this opportunity to make an early start with International Day of Light celebrations in 2022 by participating in an excellent high-level scientific event! 

About the Fitzpatrick Institute for Photonics: The Fitzpatrick Institute for Photonics is an interdisciplinary Duke University-wide effort to advance photonics and optical sciences. Founded in 2000, the institute's mission is to provide an outstanding educational and research environment to train scientists, engineers and graduates with the knowledge and skills to transform and profoundly impact academic and industrial R&D in photonics and optical science. FIP faculty perform cross-disciplinary research in many areas and teach undergraduates, master's and doctoral students, and foster the skill set that enables our protégés to thrive in their chosen professions. More information here.

The Einstein Nobel Prize Centenary in Switzerland

Albert Einstein fundamentally changed our vision of the universe and is universally considered to be one of the most significant scientists of history. Although most physicists today would likely cite his special and general theories of relativity as his greatest achievements, he actually received the Nobel prize for services to Theoretical Physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect. That is, it was Einstein’s study of the quantum nature of light that was the only one of his many accomplishments explicitly mentioned in the citation of his Nobel prize.

The announcement that Einstein had won the Nobel Prize was made in November 1922, but he was in fact awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for the year 1921; this is because the Nobel Committee for physics had refrained from making an award in 1921 itself as they could not agree on a suitable laureate.

The year 2022 which represents the centenary of Einstein’s award is a wonderful opportunity to reflect upon and to celebrate his prize-winning achievements. To this end, the Albert Einstein Society Bern and the Swiss Physical Society in collaboration with the Swiss Academy of Sciences are organising  a one-day symposium on 9 April 2022 in Bern, Switzerland. This symposium will celebrate Einstein’s achievements and legacy through talks on both the historical background, as well as a survey of modern developments in photonic science from leading scientists. For details, programme, and abstracts, please visit the conference page at the Swiss Physical Society website.

Image Credit: Albert Einstein - Privat und ganz persönlich. Author: Ze'ev Rosenkranz; published 2004 by Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Copyright: Jewish National & University Library, Jerusalem. ISBN: 3-03823-101-0

Celebrate the 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.  Many International Day of Light partners have developed year-round actions to address gender imbalance in science, with a particular focus on February 11.  For example, on social media you can use the Institute of Physics hashtag #iamaphysicist to locate inspiring examples of women in all areas of physics, or the more general #womeninscience and #womeninSTEM hashtags to explore posts in all areas of science.  
In addition, International Day of Light Steering Committee members actively support the goals to encourage women in science at all levels.  For example, follow these links to read about the activities of AIP, APS, and the IEEE.  In addition, Optica (formerly OSA) is promoting its new Optica Women Scholars program, where 20 undergraduate and graduate-level women worldwide will receive grants to support their careers. And why not use the International Day as the chance to make a nomination for SPIE's 2023 Women in Optics Planner? Nominations are open until 26 February 2022. 

Social Media Graphics & Backgrounds from the SPIE IDL Photo Contest
Show your support and enthusiasm for IDL 2022 now by updating your social media platforms with formatted graphics created by SPIE. The Society has created cover photos for Facebook, personal profile banners for LinkedIn, and header images for Twitter featuring photography from their SPIE IDL Photo Contest. All the images have been optimised for mobile as well. Once you update your accounts, tag your images and help spread the word about IDL via social media by using the official Day of Light hashtags #LightDay2022 and #IDL2022.
You can also bring awareness of the event by using virtual meeting backgrounds featuring photo contest images. And what's new this year? You can update your phone and desktop wallpaper backgrounds too. Find all these options and download the graphics at

IDL Celebrates the Success of James Webb Space Telescope
Scientists and the public worldwide are sharing in the excitement of the launch and deployment of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), its recent orbital insertion to the second Sun-Earth Lagrange point L2, and the detection of first photons of starlight by the Near Infrared Camera instrument. We are all eagerly looking forward to the first set of images as JWST explores our origins – from the first galaxies, to exoplanets with potential for life, and this is a topic ideal for science outreach to all ages. 

At the heart of the JWST are a host of optics and photonics technologies and instruments, and events and activities linked to the JWST are ideal for inclusion in any events planned for the International Day of Light in 2022.  Light provides a window to our universe and being able to see light from the very early universe for the very first time will represent a milestone in the scientific achievements of humanity. There are many outstanding JWST educational resources online to incorporate in your events, including:  material from NASA’s JWST portal, an interactive brochure from the European Space Agency ESA , and there are also many specific resources explaining the groundbreaking instrumentation onboard.  In fact, the IDL Secretariat operates its Communication node from the Astronomy & Society group at Leiden University in the Netherlands. Leiden astronomers have played a key role in the development of the Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) which is essential in allowing us to see and analyse the infrared light that lies beyond visible wavelengths.

Finally, one of the leaders of the JWST is Nobel Laureate John Mather who has been a strong supporter of the International Year of Light and Day of Light initiatives. He has many inspiring videos online, and these can be readily incorporated into outreach activities.

Image Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn

IUPAP Centenary Photo Competition

Photography is a fantastic means to communicate the beauty of natural phenomena and the wonder of science.  As part of the centennial celebrations of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP), both amateur and professional photographers can submit to the IUPAP100 Photo Contest which opens on 14 February and which will accept submissions until 14 April.  Images should be related to physics in some way, whether through natural phenomena, research or educational activities, physicists and their work etc.  Since light is at the centre of much (some would say most!) of physics, promoting the IUPAP Photo Contest and sending in your own entries can be a great means of making an early start to International Day of Light celebrations. Full details about how to submit entries will be posted at the IUPAP 100 Photo Contest page. invites you to celebrate 75 years of science with synchrotron light 

Scientists around the world harness the power of synchrotron light to work out the structure and function of a huge range of biological and physical samples.  Knowledge gained through these experiments brings greater understanding and advances in areas such as healthcare, environment, energy, materials, agriculture, cultural heritage, and planetary science. brings together 30 international synchrotron facilities in a global collaboration to facilitate access for researchers worldwide.  

This year marks an important milestone for synchrotron science as Sunday 24 April 2022 will mark 75 years since the first observation of synchrotron light at General Electric in the United States. is planning a series of special activities around the 75th Anniversary including a dedicated web area to highlight the major scientific achievements (including many Nobel prizes) that have been enabled by synchrotron light. A timeline will also chart the development of the various generations of synchrotron machines including the 4th generation free electron lasers (FELs) such as the European XFEL in Hamburg. The collaboration will also host a virtual event to celebrate the 75th Anniversary, bringing together speakers to talk about the past, present and future of synchrotron light and its impact on science and society.  Full details will be announced on the website soon.

Tell Your Stories!

One of the real highlights of this anniversary year will be the collection of stories and memories from scientists, engineers, computer scientists, educators, the public and all others involved in light source science. Anyone with an interesting memory of their first interaction with synchrotron light is welcome to send it in to Silvana Westbury (Project Manager) at To encourage creativity, these stories and memories can be presented in any form e.g. a written story, poem, photo with caption, song, comedy sketch, play, recorded audio or video reflection, artwork etc. Finally, to remain up to date with synchrotron news, please subscribe to the weekly newsletter.

Image Credit: European XFEL scientists prepare the FXE instrument for an experiment. / European XFEL 

IDL is on Instagram! 

 The International Day of Light launched an Instagram page in 2020 and this channel will continue to be used for updates about #LightDay2022! Follow @DayOfLight2022 for updates about about the next Day Of Light in May 2022, including news and announcements, as well as a special collection of photography that features the role and beauty of light in our daily lives!

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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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