Event Post Show Report | News-Spot | Jan 23, 2015

Year of Light and Light Based Technologies Opening in Paris - Let There be Light

The Opening Ceremony was held on January 19th and 20th 2015 at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. During the ceremony the key themes of the year were introduced as an inspiration for worldwide events throughout the year. The IYL 2015 was initiated to raise awareness of the importance of light-based technologies in providing solutions to worldwide challenges in areas such as energy, education, communications and health. The diverse program covering scientific, religious, political, cultural, artistic, humanistic, economic and ecological views was an inspiring start to the International Year of Light.

Nobel laureates Ahmed Zewail, Steven Chu, William Phillips, Serge Haroche and Zhores Alferov captivated the audience with their compelling keynote speeches. These inspirational scientists covered a diverse range of topics, including light and life, energy and climate change, time and light, light and quantum and the fundamental physics of efficient light generation and conversion.

Connected to the keynote speeches and to complete the program there were many short introductions to ongoing projects, planned events, practical applications presented by distinguished scientists, researchers, technicians, and NGO and NPO delegates.

Highlights of the first day:
The invited guests were welcomed by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki Moon, the Director General of UNESCO, Mrs. Irina Bokova, the assistant Director General for Natural Science at UNESCO, Ms. Flavia Schlegel, as well as top dignitaries of initiating states and organizations.

Ahmed Zewail closed his lecture with a plea for a better AAA world.  The three A’s stand for alleviating the “Not Knowing”, alleviating the “Not Having”, and alleviating the “Not Free”, by providing education and science, aid on a partnership basis, and liberty. Fellow Nobelist Steven Chu demonstrated that, against all allegations, alternative energy sources are already cheaper than conventional sources and could cover the energy needs of the world. He said there is "less than a 1-in-27-million chance that the earth's record hot streak is natural."

The artistic and cultural highlight of the day was the inauguration of "The 1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn Al-Haytham", the performance "From Darkness to the World of Light" by the Ngati Ranana London Maori Club, the film "Einstein's Light" from Nickolas Barris, with a musical interpretation from Joshua Bell (violin) and Marija Stroke (piano) composed by Bruce Adolphe, inspired by Mozart and Bach. After sunset, a cocktail reception and Kari Kola's "Light is Here" illumination of the UNESCO building, which reflected the powerful elements of the Northern lights, was a wonderful ending to the day.

Highlights of the second day:
Once again the Nobel laureates impressed and captivated the audience with their individual presentations. William D. Phillips started with his brilliant talk about "Einstein, Time and Light", demonstrating the consequences of Einstein’s theory of relativity for our daily lives. Serge Haroche was able to convey to the fraction of the audience that was not well versed in physics, an understandable idea of what "Light and the Quantum" means. The fifth Nobel laureate, Zhores Alferov, took the audience on an excursion to the "Efficient Light Conversion and Generation", covering LEDs, Lasers, Quantum Dots and much more, starting with the history and finishing with future trends.

The second day ended with a plenary discussion about "Science Policy" between José Mariano Gago, former minister of science, technology and innovation in Portugal, Naledi Pandor, South Africa's minister of science and technology, Ana Maria Cetto from the National University of Mexico Institute of Physics, Khalil Rouhana from the European Commission, and Maciej Nalecz, director of the division of science policy and capacity-building at UNESCO.

For Ahmed Zewail's lecture please go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxHkAoAFGHs
For Steven Chu's speech go here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P59f8x6Xgg4
An edited version of William D. Phillips' performance can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmBmegutsds
To learn more about the Year of Light and the other lectures held on January 19th and 20th, please read the article in issue 48 of the LED professional Review (http://www.led-professional.com/lpr-magazine).