Switching on the lights on the Downing Street Christmas tree not only marked the festive season, but also signalled the lead-up to 2015, the International Year of Light (IYOL).
The year was designated by the United Nations and will be a year-long celebration with aims including promoting light-based technologies, raising awareness of light pollution and energy waste and championing sustainable lighting in the developing world.
In the UK, over 40 individuals and organisations representing science, engineering, culture and the arts are working together to mark the year through an impactful national programme of events and activities.
Diamond Light Source will be celebrating with a series of large events and campaigns that will bring together members of the public and the scientific community. The Harwell Campus open day in July will see thousands of visitors welcomed to the science and innovation campus in Oxfordshire, where they will have the opportunity to see up close examples of world-leading science and technology much of which depends on light.
In March, Diamond will also be taking part in special events at the Oxford Science Festival and the ATOM science festival in Abingdon, designed to engage people with the cutting-edge science that’s taking place nationally and around the world. The UK’s synchrotron science facility will also be running competitions for schools on the theme of light, and major research will be presented at the AAAS science meeting in California on 13th February.
The IYoL is a year of celebration, where we look back at how far we’ve come and look to the future, at the pioneering science and technology that is paving the way for new discoveries. With events taking place up and down the country and major science facilities like Diamond in tow, it promises to be a sparkling year of light.