IYL 2015 Blog Highlights I

Around October 2014 when I started taking care of the IYL 2015 blog, I was really excited to take this task. I wanted that the blog became a platform where members of different communities were able to share their different perspectives, both with each other but also with the wider public.

To this day, we have published 312 posts in 2015, covering major topics and themes of IYL 2015. During the year, the blog has received over 130,000 visitors from 204 countries, amounting to around 215,000 views . Soon, we will talk a bit more about statistics and the experience of managing an international volunteer initiative such as this blog.

I would like to thank all the contributors that have generously taken their time to provide a written record of their own involvement with light science and technology, or their particular involvement with the International Year of Light.

The blog will still be open until the IYL 2015 Closing Ceremony on 4-6 February 2016. Stay tuned for more surprises during January.

The first one is the first part of a list of posts I would like to highlight from 2015. You can find the list below.

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Words & Light Anthology III

The organisers of the International Year of Light 2015 Literary Competition “Words and Light” at ITMO University, St. Petersburg, Russia, are delighted to present the collection of best works submitted to the competition. “Words and Light” was a one-of-its-kind event, initiated purposely for this International Year and Light-based Technologies 2015 (IYL 2015), aimed at being a tribute to all the writers inspired by Light, writers interested in the Science of Light, and scientists-poets, past and present.

More than 400 authors from 19 countries took part in the competition, namely Australia, Austria, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lithuania, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Turkey, the Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. The anthology, depicting a breath of themes and genres, is beautifully illustrated by the works of the winners of the Poster competition “Let there be Light!”, organised by the same university. You can download the Words and Light Anthology here.

This is the second part of the texts written by Brazilian children from the Escola de Arte Criativa Toulouse Lautrec in Franca, São Paulo, Brazil.

by Gabriela Helena de Oliveira Borges (14 years old)

Light is a word with no exact definition, it means a lot of different things. So, how can I know what something so wide means to me? How can I know what light means to me if I don’t think about it?

No one takes a break from this hectic life that we live today to think about this thing that we don’t exactly see but it’s so important for us without us knowing.

Like I’ve said, we don’t stop to think about light because we don’t realize what it means in our lives. If we stopped to appreciate this magic thing, we’d be with no words in our mouths and our minds.

Because it’s one of the most amazing things in the world.

by Paola P. de Oliveira (13 years old)

If you put a sheet of paper in front of me and say «draw light», I’ll probably draw a sunny day and a lot of sun rays and some families in a valley having a picnic and kids playing at this place. I know that that is not exactly light, but it will be the first thing in my mind. The sunlight and those happy families…

Light is not only the lamp or the lantern, but being happy, for me, it is a source of light. A spiritual light, which, together with the sunlight, is the most beautiful thing.

by Isadora Russo (13 years old)  

Light to me isn’t nothing more than life.
Light to me isn’t just to enlighten, light is happiness. The reason I wake up.
It is to realise that a new play without trials will start.

But in the end, light is only «material»
Well… For me it isn’t.
Light also is into me and into you when we remember or invent
something extraordinary,
This is light to me.

by Vinicius Ferreira de Mendonça (14 years old)

Light’s a spark
A gleam in the night
A firefly in the dark
The meaning of life

It’s the sun on opur skin
The moon when it’s night
Such beauty, such a gleam
Such love when it’s bright

When we’re flying our kites
Running down the hill
Feeling this delight
There it is: light

So here we are
Everything’s alright
Such a sweet bliss
From dawn to twilight

by Pedro Luiz Vieira (13 years old)

What is light?
For me, it’s something bright. Something that makes things clear, Things that are never near.
Faint or intense,
It can mean the end of the race, The race against the time.
The race we call «life».

Or maybe it can be,
A signal of real love.
And always when you see,
You will remember me,
Telling you to «seize the day».
Every day it can be the answer,
Of the troubles that you have,
That comes fast like a ray.

by Pedro Sousa Salgueiro Pawlowski (14 years old)

(based on The Beatles song — Dear Prudence)

Dear Curtains, won ́t you get out of the way.
Dear Curtains, shake for the windy new day.

The sun is up,
The sky is blue,
And there’s light
All over you

Dear Curtains, won’t you get out of the way.
Dear Curtains, let me see the clean skies.
Dear Curtains, see the tears in my eyes.

The wind is low,
The birds will sing,
And the sun light,
Just warm their skin.

Dear Curtains, let me see with my own eyes.

Look aglow ‘glow…
Look aglow ‘glow ‘glow…
Look aglow…

Dear Curtains, let me see clear now.
Dear Curtains, like a glowing night.

The clouds will be
A daisy chain,
Won’t you let me be
Able to smile again?

Dear Curtains, won’t you let me be able to smile?
Dear Curtains, won’t you get out of the way?
Dear Curtains, shake for the windy new day.

The sun is up,
The sky is blue,
And there’s sunlight
All over you

Dear curtains, won’t you let me seize the day?

How SDSS Talked about Light for IYL 2015

As astronomers, here at the Sloan Digital Sky Survey everything we do is based on collecting light from cosmic objects. So we have been pleased to celebrate the International Year of Light, and especially the Cosmic Light Theme, supported by the IAU.

As a small contribution to this celebration, every month in 2015 SDSS had a special blog post talking about the different ways we use light. Here’s a roundup of what we talked about through out the year.


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Radiotherapy – Using high-energy light to cure cancer

In 1895 Willhelm Roentgen discovered a type of light that was not only invisible but appeared to pass straight through materials as if they weren’t there. The demonstration of this was the now famous image of the hand of Roentgen’s wife.

This new type of radiation was dubbed “x-rays” and the name stuck. Almost 120 years later, x-rays are still used every day for the diagnosis of a huge range of diseases and also for the treatment of cancer in what is today referred to as radiation therapy. It’s commonly referred to as radiotherapy but this was thought to be confusing as it has nothing to do with radio waves!

Assorted light bulbs, coloured X-ray. Credit: Light: Beyond the Bulb.

Assorted light bulbs, coloured X-ray. Credit: Light: Beyond the Bulb.

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IYL 2015 Events #52 | Week 28 December – 3 January 2016

Find below the activities listed on the IYL 2015 Event Programme starting between 28 December – 3 January 2016. Click on the links for more information on the different activities.

Please note that some last-minute additions to the event programme may not appear here. For an up-to-date overview of IYL 2015 events please visit the IYL 2015 Event Programme.