news highlights

Light Celebrations

16 May is International Day of Light

International Day of Light 2018
International Day of Light 2018

14/05/2018 - Trieste

ICTP will join its UN partner UNESCO in celebrating the first International Day of Light  on Wednesday 16 May at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France.

The International Day of Light highlights the crucial role light has in everyday life, in areas such as medicine, sustainable development, education, communications and energy. It follows on UNESCO’s successful International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies, held in 2015, for which ICTP played a key role, including hosting the global secretariat.

The International Day of Light inauguration in Paris will feature talks by Nobel Laureates and other prominent scientists, including:

  • Kip Thorne, 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics, California Institute of Technology
  • Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics, Collège de France
  • Khaled Toukan, Director of the Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (SESAME) based in Allan, Jordan

ICTP has a long tradition of science activities related to light, most notably through its contribution to the creation of the SESAME synchrotron light source research facility in Jordan. ICTP's founder Abdus Salam proposed the idea for such a regional scientific centre back in 1983, hoping that scientific cooperation could pave the way for future peace, growth, and collaboration between Middle Eastern countries.

ICTP also holds an annual Winter College on Optics, co-sponsored by the International Commission for Optics (ICO), the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE) and the Optical Society (OSA). The yearly College includes a prize ceremony for the ICO/ICTP Gallieno Denardo Award, which is presented to researchers younger than 40 years of age from a developing country who have made significant contributions to the field of optics or photonics.

ICTP and SPIE collaborate with the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN) to research quantum cascade lasers (QCL), which have numerous applications in the remote sensing of environmental gases and pollutants, as well as in medical diagnostics.

In addition, ICTP has been an active participant in UNESCO's Active Learning in Optics and Photonics (ALOP), an education programme that provides hands-on training in optics and photonics for teachers in the developing world.

Related links, ICTP's light-related science activities: