On 16 May 2018 the world saw the celebration of the first ever International Day of Light. The event was celebrated around the world with more than 500 events taking place in 87 countries to create awareness of the role of light plays in science, culture and art, education, and sustainable development, and in fields as diverse as medicine, communications, and energy.
Why May 16th?
The International Day of Light is a global initiative that provides an annual focal point for the continued appreciation of light in all forms and shapes and applications. It will be held on May 16th every year, the anniversary of the first successful operation of the laser in 1960 by physicist and engineer, Theodore Maiman.
The Optics and Photonics Society of the University of Exeter (EUOPS) did not wanted to miss this opportunity to join the worldwide celebration and organised events open to the entire community of Exeter. They held a photo competition with three main categories, which encouraged participants to showcase how important light is nature, in their day-to-day life and in technology. Bill Barnes, Professor of Photonics at the University of Exeter, had the difficult task to choose the winners among the 57 photo submissions:
- Pak Hin Fung won the “Light in Nature” category with a beautiful photo of one of the most touristic places of Exeter: The Quay. In Bill’s words: “It seems at first that this is a picture of buildings etc., but if one looks for a little while it becomes clear that the sky, and its reflection, wins“.
- The “Light in Technology” first place went to Adolfo De Sanctis with his photo about waveguides and fluorescence: “Guiding of light is so important to our digital age. It is nice to see this simple demonstration of how light is guided to the edge of the slide to remind us that it is really a simple phenomenon”.
- Finally, the first place of the “Light in Day-to-Day Life” category and the overall winner of the competition was the photo by Flo Pearson titled “Peg Shadows”: “This picture is really made by the shadows of the pegs – an absence of light!“
Alongside the photo competition, there was a poster competition where the participants were asked to explain to the general public how they use light in their research. There was one simple rule: explain your research in the easiest way possible. The 5 poster submissions were judged by year 12 students (Adam Barber, Peter Betts, Harry Price) and their teacher Dr Aude Alapini-Odunlade from Clyst Vale Community College.
- The winner of the poster competition was our very own XM² 4th year PGR Christopher King with his poster explaining the designing of non-scattering material, which can be the base for invisible materials.
Between these two competitions, £300 in prizes were shared between firsts, seconds, and audience favourite prizes,. The award ceremony was held in the Forum of the University of Exeteron 11th of May.
A very special thanks goes to EUOPS and the XM² 4th year PGR Erick Burgos Parra who organised an outstanding first celebration of the International Day of Light!
Photo competition winners in order of appearance in the text above: