International Day of Light Date in the current year: May 16, 2019

International Day of Light The International Day of Light is an annual UN observance that was officially established in 2017. It was created by UNESCO in order to promote international cooperation in the key fields of modern science that are one way or another connected with light and light technology.

In physical optics, the term “light” usually refers to electromagnetic radiation within the visible spectrum. In physics in general, it sometimes refers to electromagnetic radiation of any wavelength, including X-rays, gamma-rays, microwaves and even radio waves. But regardless of the interpretation of the term, it is impossible to deny that light plays a huge role in our lives.

In order to emphasize the central role of light and its importance for science (including such crucial fields as medicine, communications and energy), culture and art, the Executive Board of UNESCO established the International Day of Light at its 200th session. This decision was subsequently approved by the 39th General Conference.

The International Day of Light is celebrated on May 16 in order to commemorate the anniversary of the first successful operation of the laser in 1960. Although the theoretical foundations for the laser were established by Albert Einstein back in 1917, it took over 40 years to create the first functioning laser. It was presented by American physicist and engineer Theodore H. Maiman on May 16, 1960. Today, lasers are used in a wide range of fields, including science, medicine, industry, entertainment, and military.

Light plays a central role in the lives of people on several levels at once. On the most fundamental level, light enables the process of photosynthesis, which is crucial for all life on Earth. And the widespread use of light and light technologies in industry, communications, medicine, culture, entertainment and other fields has made our life as it is now.

Since all these fields are inextricably interconnected, the main task of the International Day of Light is to establish and promote international cooperation in the key fields of modern science and engineering in order to address the key issues of sustainable development, as well as to engage talented young minds from around the world in solving global problems in education, healthcare, agriculture and energy with the help of light technology.

Every year, UNESCO holds the International Day of Light events around the world, promoting cooperation in the basic sciences and STEM education and encouraging scientists, industry leaders, non-governmental organizations, politicians, decision makes and concerned citizens to take action in science outreach and education.

Working together, they will strive to achieve a common global goal: to provide access to innovation, technology and science throughout the world, paying particular attention to developing countries (primary African countries, where the need to ensure higher quality of life is an important and urgent problem, which requires interdisciplinary and international cooperation).

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UN Observances

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International Day of Light, UN observance, UNESCO observance, international observance, awareness day