On 9 October 2015 the German Physical Society [DPG] organized a meeting between National Node representatives of the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015 [IYL 2015] at the Magnus Haus in Berlin, Germany. The focus of the meeting was to exchange best practices examples of IYL 2015 activities and events, resulting sustainable development and possible further cooperative actions for the future.
Dr. Lutz Moeller (German UNESCO Commission) welcomed the participants of the event and highlighted the importance of initiatives such as the International Years declared by the United Nations to create greater visibility for the themes celebrated. In this respect, he said that it is really important that all the momentum generated during the IYL 2015 should be channelled to create an everlasting legacy and that events like these one were important to create the appropriate networks.
After a presentation about the history of the Magnus Haus by Prof. Ingolf Hertel, David Lee, the Secretary General of the European Physical Society [EPS], presented the involvement of EPS as a Founding partner of IYL 2015 and the lessons learnt by the society during the path prior to the declaration of IYL 2015. This is the second participation of EPS on the organization of one of these global initiatives after the World Year of Physics 2005 that celebrated 100 years of Einstein’s Annus Mirabilis.
My intervention was focused on the GalileoMobile project and its journey from the International Year of Astronomy 2009 [IYA2009] to its participation on the IYL 2015. The project was born on 2008 as a one-time-only project to perform astronomical activities in schools in South America for IYA2009. After a successful expedition, the project has evolved during the past seven years, reaching over 12,000 students and 1,300 teachers with its activities in several countries around the world. I also presented GalileoMobile activities focused on IYL 2015: the documentary Light-Year and Constellation: GalileoMobile’s most ambitious project so far, which is organizing a network of 18 schools on seven South American countries to work remotely with them during the year and organize five simultaneous expeditions to visit them before the end of 2015.
Following up my intervention, Toby Shannon shared the activities carried out by the IYL 2015 UK National node during the year. From the IYL 2015-themed decoration of the UK’s Prime Minister Christmas tree at Downing Street to the participation on the iSPEX-EU campaign, as part of the LIGHT2015 Project, the IYL 2015 has been widely celebrated on the UK.
Prof. Cather Simpson, IYL 2015 National Node New Zealand, talked about the activities organized all over the country. Most notably, she mentioned the Ten by Ten Luminaries series, where outstanding speakers are presenting different aspects of light around the country.
Prof. Arnulf Quadt walked us through a year full of IYL 2015 activities in Germany, with around 700 events so far. Highlights included the Opening Ceremony at the Deutsches Museum in Munich, the participation of thousands of people on the Festival Highlights of Physics in Jena and a school competition organized together with the German Space Agency [DLR] to inspire teenagers for physics and technology in a hands-on fashion. The year will be closed with the Physics in the advent season competition and the German Closing Ceremony in Berlin on 27 November.
Dr. Zahid Khan closed the event with a breakdown of the IYL 2015 activities in India. From the 130 activities registered on the IYL Event Programme, he showed the majority were dedicated to Academic & Research topics and Outreach. He highlighted the activities of the Story of Light Festival and the Conference Life & Contribution of Ibn Al-Haitham organized by the Ibn Al Haytham Working Group. To conclude his talk, he stressed that most of the activities organized in India have been bottom-up and that was difficult in a large country like India to have a central organization to organize country-wide activities as the other participants of the event.
As a conclusion of the event it was addressed that more events like this one are needed to know the activities that are happening in other countries and all the participants agreed that it is of uttermost importance to take advantage of the momentum generated by IYL 2015 and use it to create a legacy that could impact society.
At the end of the event, all participants attended the opening ceremony of the Festival of Lights. This festival illuminates important landmarks all over Berlin and this year joined the IYL 2015 celebrations. The opening ceremony comprised an outstanding 3D video mapping over the Brandenburger Tor.