Connections for the STEM Classroom

Celebrating the International Year of Light 2015

The International Year of Light (IYL 2015) is a global initiative which will highlight to the citizens of the world the importance of light and optical technologies in their lives, for their futures, and for the development of society. It is an unique opportunity to inspire, educate, and connect on a global scale.

In proclaiming an International Year focusing on the topic of light science and its applications, the United Nations has recognized the importance of raising global awareness about how light-based technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to global challenges in energy, education, agriculture and health. Light plays a vital role in our daily lives and is an imperative cross-cutting discipline of science in the 21st century. It has revolutionized medicine, opened up international communication via the Internet, and continues to be central to linking cultural, economic and political aspects of the global society.

IYL 2015 kicked-off with opening ceremonies on 19 January 2015 in Paris.  On January 24, Grand Valley State University hosted “Super Science Saturday:  The Wonder of Light”, a hands-on science open house, in celebration of the Regional Math and Science Center’s 25th Anniversary and the International Year of Light.  Approximately 1800 children and adults from the community attended the event.

Some of the highlights of the GVSU Super Science Saturday were:

  • Large group presentations by John Perlin (Department of Physics, University of California - Santa Barbara) - based on his current book, "Let It Shine: The 6,000 Year Story of Solar Energy and Mike Gould (Mondodyne Photonics) with an educational lecture-demonstration-laser light show.
  • Hands-on activities led by GVSU faculty,  including sessions on: Measuring the colors of the rainbow, modern fiber optic communications, glow stick science, fluorescent rocks, mixing colors of light, and the sun and solar system.

Watch GVSU Super Science Saturday the video here!

Young Scientist

A young scientist mixes light using a hula hoop during the "Enlighten Yourself" session at the GVSU Super Science Saturday Open House.

For more information on Light and IYL 2015, visit  Follow this link for ideas on how to involve students in the experience!

IYL 2015 is endorsed by a number of international scientific unions and the International Council of Science, and has more than 100 partners from more than 85 countries. Founding Sponsors of IYL 2015 are the 1001 Inventions, American Physical Society (APS); The American Institute of Physics (AIP); Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (DPG); the European Physical Society (EPS); the IEEE Photonics Society (IPS); SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics; the International Network; the Institute of Physics (IOP); and The Optical Society (OSA).

UN/UNESCO International Year of Light 2015 Official Trailer