The International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL 2015)

The International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL 2015) was a United Nations celebration that aimed to increase public knowledge of the advancements in light research, its uses, and the significance of light to humanity. The IYL 2015 brought together hundreds of national and international partners to plan more than 13,000 activities in 147 nations under the direction of UNESCO. Over 100 million people were reportedly exposed to the IYL 2015 broadcast.

The International Year of Light (IYL) 2015 was a year-long series of events and activities with the goal of educating people throughout the world about the value of light science and optical technology in enhancing quality of life and advancing societal development. Focusing on application areas relevant to sustainable development and demonstrating how light-based technologies may offer workable answers to global difficulties in sectors like renewable energy, education, agriculture, and healthcare were special goals.


The International Year of Light 2015 had the following main objectives:

  • Increase awareness among the general public of how light and light-based technologies affect everyone's everyday life and are essential to the future growth of the global civilization.
  • Increase the capacity of education worldwide by focusing particularly on developing nations and emerging economies, tackling gender imbalance issues, and engaging young people in science.
  • improve global cooperation by serving as the go-to information hub for initiatives organized by academic institutions, NGOs, governmental organizations, businesses, and other collaborators.
  • Highlight specific scientific breakthroughs that have demonstrated the basic importance of light in the advancement of knowledge and the ongoing process of discovery in various historical and cultural contexts.
  • In order to develop new applications, light-based technology needs to be invested in, as well as the global imperative of promoting professions in science and engineering in these sectors. These points should all be emphasized.
  • Promote the use of lighting technology, the requirement for access to energy infrastructure, and the improvement of living conditions in developing nations.
  • Increase public awareness of the crucial roles that technologies and design may play in achieving higher energy efficiency, particularly by limiting energy waste, and in lowering light pollution, which is essential to maintaining the dark skies.
  • To strengthen the role of optical technology in protecting cultural assets, emphasize and explain the close connection between light, art, and culture.
  • Maintain these objectives and successes after the International Year of Light.
The UNESCO aims of promoting peace, eradicating poverty, promoting sustainable development, and fostering intercultural understanding are all greatly advanced by the International Year of Light in the fields of education, science, culture, and communication. In this regard, IYL 2015's objectives are consistent with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that the United Nations General Assembly approved in 2015.


The IYL 2015 logo was projected widely, including on The Globe of Science and Innovation at CERN, and was also the subject of large-scale light painting by the Light Painting World Alliance in Oviedo, Spain and on the North Sea in Germany. On a different scale altogether, a micron-scale logo was fabricated using advanced plasmonic colour laser printing technology at the Technical University of Denmark. Other innovative ways in which the IYL 2015 logo appeared was as a hologram prepared for laser pointers, inside cakes, drawn with machine vision-robotic control, and included in a special design for a reindeer- themed Christmas decoration that was placed on the Christmas Tree outside the UK Prime Minister's residence at 10 Downing Street.

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