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May 16 marks the second annual celebration of light in society
May 16, 2019 | Leah Poffenberger
Beginning in 2018, UNESCO instituted the International Day of Light (IDL), recognizing the importance of light and optics in society, science, and culture, and the continued importance of the study of light. May 16 was selected as the IDL to commemorate the anniversary of the first successful operation of a laser. For the second year, APS provided funding and participated in the steering committee for IDL, alongside other scientific societies.
IDL is celebrated around the world with a variety of different light-focused events, including UNESCO’s Illuminating Education conference, promoting careers in the physics of light, and the use of light to promote science to the general public. A special focus of this year’s Day of Light is inspiring young people and women in developing countries to study science and engineering, which the Illuminating Education conference hopes to accomplish.