LIGHT2015 is structured in terms of three broad objectives: Explain Photonics, Inspire People, and Network Europe.
Photonics is ubiquitous in our daily lives, from eyeglasses to smartphones and Internet that are essential for modern communication and exchange. Moreover, photonics is an essential technology in areas such as energy, healthcare, communications and culture. LIGHT2015 aims to describe to the general public in all EU Member States what photonics is and how it works. In particular, the LIGHT2015 Consortium will focus on explaining how photonics drives economic growth and promotes careers, and why photonics need to be central components of science and engineering education.
For that purpose, LIGHT2015 plans to bring high-profile inspiring public lectures directed to students, entrepreneurs and industry across all EU countries to reach out to an unprecedented number of citizens with a single, Europe-wide orchestrated multi-event endeavour. It will also address this objective through high-level talks and meetings amongst broad stakeholders in the photonics field.
LIGHT2015 will complement training and educational actions by reminding people of the power of photonics in their daily lives.
Specific activities will include explaining the science underlying smartphones – the fruit of a century of photonics R&D and over ten Nobel prizes. The smartphone is an innovative photonic device, which can be used in areas ranging from measuring heart rate to measuring light pollution. A particular highlight of LIGHT2015 will be our coordination of the first Europe-wide citizen-science photonics experiment, which will take place during the IYL2015 “100 Hours / Weekend of Light” event over the period 25-28 September 2015. This experiment will directly raise awareness of the power of photonics to provide essential information relating to environmental, health and quality-of-life concerns, stimulating media and public interest, and raising the profile of photonics amongst decision makers.
In addition, LIGHT2015 will continuously inspire the younger audience during the entire year through its LIGHTtalks events and outreach materials, as well as through making available photonics kits to more schools, helping to stimulate the interest of the young students in STEM subjects in general and photonics in particular, and the interest of university students and entrepreneurs to develop a career or a business in this field.
Europe has a unique opportunity to take advantage of the international visibility offered by the UN’s declaration of 2015 as the International Year of Light and Light Based Technologies (IYL 2015). The LIGHT2015 project will use the visibility offered by IYL 2015 to strengthen collaboration across societies and networks in Europe in the fields of photonics outreach and education. The presence of key outreach partners in the consortium (EPS, EOS, ECOP, EYEST) and linkage with the wider IYL 2015 and Photonics21 networks (via its Board of Stakeholders) are essential to this objective. The work plan of LIGHT2015 will act as a hub to coordinate activities in Europe carried out in the framework of IYL 2015. The presence of EPS and EOS in LIGHT2015 will ensure that photonics outreach actions take place in every member state of the EU.
The LIGHT2015 Consortium aims to use the visibility offered by the project and by IYL 2015 to clearly explain the entrepreneurial attraction of the photonics industry to bring young people in Europe into careers in science, and to keep the best young minds of Europe working towards Europe’s future. The LIGHT2015 initiative will stress the importance of photonics in maintaining Europe’s competitive advantage and will highlight to both small and large enterprises the need for investment in trained personnel and R&D in photonics.