International Day Of Light

Every May 16th is observed as the International Day of Light. As its name suggests, this holiday celebrates the contributions that light and light-based technologies have made to human culture, education, science, and sustainable development.

The celebrations of this holiday focus on how scientific progress and technology can be used to achieve the goals of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). It’s a day observed by the UN and administered through UNESCO’s International Basic Science Programme (I.B.S.P).

The History of International Day of Light

The International Day of Light was created after the International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies 2015 proved to be quite successful in furthering UNESCO’s goals of using science and technology as ways to improve the world.

The first official observance of this day took place on May 16th, 2018. This date was chosen for that celebration and future ones because it marks the anniversary of the first successful operation of a laser in 1960 by American engineer and physicist Theodore Maiman.

Some Important Facts About Light

Everyone knows what light is and how it functions in the natural world, but how much do people really know about it beyond those basics? We’re not sure, so we decided to list some of the things that we learned about light below. We hope that the following list of light-related facts provides some new information to everyone who reads it.

  • The speed of light is exactly 299,792,458 meters per second.
  • Blue light has a calming effect on people.
  • Cherenkov Radiation is a form of energy that is seen as a blue glow when electrically charged particles move at speeds faster than that of light.
  • Optical rays hitting optic nerves cause an effect in space that looks like sudden flashes of light to the observer.
  • Although most humans can’t, some people can see ultraviolet light.
  • Approximately 90% of all creatures that live below 1,500 feet in the ocean are bioluminescent.
  • In 1954, pilot Jim Lovell located his darkened aircraft carrier by following the bioluminescence stirred up in the ship’s wake.

Observing the International Day of Light

Light festivals, exhibitions, and seminars are used to celebrate this holiday around the world. There are also scientific optical demonstrations, lectures, and contests. People can choose to engage with these events or create their own fun light-based activities to enjoy with their families.

It’s also a good idea to learn more about light technologies and their impact on human life. While observing this holiday, people can take the time to use the hashtag #InternationalDayOfLight to spread the word about it around the globe.

When is it?
This year (2024)
May 16 Thursday
Next year (2025)
May 16 Friday
Last year (2023)
May 16 Tuesday
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