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International Day of Light

May 16, 2022

The United Nations marks the International Day of Light – an annual initiative held globally to raise awareness on the critical role played by light-based technologies in everyday life – on May 16th every year.  It highlights the contribution of such technologies in various avenues such as science, technology, art, and culture (thus helping achieve the UNESCO goals of education, equality, and peace).

May 16th was selected as it marks the anniversary of the first successful operation of a laser in 1960 by physicist and engineer Theodore Maiman.   

Some of the objectives for this day include:

  • Improving the public understanding of how light and light-based technologies touch daily lives and are central to the future development of a global society.
  • Highlighting the intimate link between light and culture (including art) while enhancing the role of optical technology to preserve cultural heritage.
  • Emphasizing the importance of research into the fundamental science of light and the need for further investment into light-based technologies.
  • Promoting the importance of light technology and the need for access to light and energy infrastructure in sustainable development.

For more information, check out the official website


Additional websites:


European Physical Society

International Society of Optics and Photonics

Canadian Association of Physicists