The International Year of Light in Europe 2015 [LIGHT2015] – funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme – is a high impact EU-wide outreach and education initiative that aims to promote the importance of photonics to young people, entrepreneurs and the general public during the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies [IYL 2015]. The project, coordinated by the European Physical Society [EPS], will leverage the tremendous visibility of IYL 2015 to ensure that the public in all member states of the EU understands and appreciates the importance that photonics has for society.
LIGHT2015 is structured in terms of three broad objectives:
- Explain Photonics: Raise awareness among the public, young people and entrepreneurs of what photonics is, and how and why photonics is an essential technology of the future.
- Inspire People: Inspire a new generation of Young Scientists in Photonics with hands-on training and though smartphone photonics experiments to promote the excitement of photonic science.
- Network Europe: Strengthen networking and collaborations across societies in Europe to promote the EU as the World Hub of Photonics.
Running from January 2015 until June 2016, the project plans a full twelve months of activities overlapping with the global IYL 2015, but an additional period of six months will allow further dissemination, and will indeed build upon the interest in photonics generated in 2015 to plan additional outreach events in 2016.
The activities comprised in LIGHT2015 will include the LIGHTtalks events, which are a series of inspirational talks that will take place throughout the entire EU in different cities at different times during the whole duration of the project in order to bring photonics closer to students and entrepreneurs in the local communities. A specific series of LIGHTtalks events targeted at local industry and entrepreneurs, will take place during the period 25-28 September 2015 to leverage on the international “100 Hours / Weekend of Light” of the global IYL 2015 programme.
Another highlight of LIGHT2015 will be a EU-wide community experiment on smartphone photonics where thousands of participants will carry out optical measurements of the sky to yield information related to air pollution. The event will be also held during the IYL 2015 Weekend of Light and will be one the largest-ever citizen science experiments of its kind.
Moreover, LIGHT2015 plans to distribute Photonics kits to schools and train around 250 teachers in 10 European countries to support the scientific education in secondary schools. It is expected that around 12,500 students will use the Science Explorer Kits during 2015.
The project brings together a multi-stakeholder partnership, including the EPS, the European Optical Society [EOS], the Institute of Photonics Sciences [ICFO] (Spain), the Politecnico di Milano (Italy), the National University of Ireland Galway (Ireland), Universiteit Leiden (the Netherlands), and EYESTvzw (Belgium). This Consortium assembles leading European researchers in both fundamental and applied photonics (all partners), researchers with close industry links (EOS), and EU-wide networks of outreach and education in optical science (EPS, EOS, EYEST) and unique expertise in implementation of hands-on photonics outreach and education (Universiteit Leiden, EYESTvzw). It also contains the Founding Partner of the IYL 2015 initiative (EPS). The presence of these key players in LIGHT 2015 will ensure coordination and communication between LIGHT2015 and other outreach activities in photonics funded by the European Commission also planned for 2015, such as the projects GoPhoton! and Photonics4All.
For the organization of LIGHT2015 events during the second semester of 2015, there will be funding available for EPS Member Societies, provided that they belong to countries that are eligible under the Horizon 2020 scheme. In February, the EPS Member Society Presidents will be informed in greater detail. If you are interested in organising one of these events and want more information, please contact the LIGHT2015 Photonics Outreach Officer (jorge [dot] rivero [at] eps [dot] org).
More information on the LIGHT2015 website.