The International Year of the Light 2015 [IYL 2015] is celebrated worldwide with many events and initiatives. The European Physical Society is one of the founding partners of the IYL2015 and the Board of the Nuclear Physics Division of EPS also contributes to this effort with dedicated publications foreseen in journals like Europhysics News and through other actions in different media.
The connection between the light and nuclear physics can be seen clearly in the field of nuclear astrophysics that studies the nature of nuclear reactions and energy generation inside our sun and in other stars. The high resolution spectroscopy of stellar light provides a unique tool to investigate the origin of the stars by comparing the abundance pattern of light and heavy elements, while the comparison of the luminosity and the color provides information about the mass and the evolution.
Another very interesting field is the use of laser light for atomic spectroscopy. Much information about the nuclear composition of matter can be derived like the spins, the electromagnetic moments and the charge radii of unstable nuclei. Laser techniques have also been used to prepare beams or samples of radioactive atoms used in nuclear spectroscopy. In addition, intense laser beams can be used with the Compton Backscattering technique to produce higher energy gamma rays for nuclear photo-absorption, photo-reaction and photo-fission processes like the ones foreseen in the ELI-NP project.
Finally in the field of the characterization and the preservation of cultural heritage, the thermo-luminescence or optically stimulated luminescence are an absolute dating method suitable for determining, for example, the age of archaeological ceramics as well as the age of sediment layers. At higher energies, X-Ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF) is a non-invasive, non-destructive, high sensitivity and quantitative multi-elemental technique that in many cases can be used directly on the surface of the objects to be analyzed without any sample preparation. These methods will be described in detail, together with many other techniques in a comprehensive Nuclear Physics Division paper on the application of nuclear physics on preservation and conservation of European cultural heritage. This paper is presently in preparation and will be available soon.