The International Year of Light and Laser Fun Day 2015

International Year of Light logoHappy New Year! You may or may not have heard about the International Year of Light. Quoting from the United Nations handout, “The International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies (IYL 2015) is a global initiative to raise awareness of how optical technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to worldwide challenges in energy, education, agriculture, communications and health.”

Both SPIE and OSA, along with other international organizations such as the United Nations, are promoting the IYL to raise awareness about the impact of optics on the challenges of the world. The Student Optics Chapter (SOCk) at the University of Arizona has always had optics outreach as one of the primary goals of its mission statement. The IYL has just given us a remarkable opportunity to have an even greater impact than usual.

I’ve discussed our annual Laser Fun Day event in a previous blog post. Thanks to a very generous grant from SPIE, SOCk is able to make our fifth annual Laser Fun Day all about the International Year of Light! As always, each of the undergraduate classes will have a theme assigned for the class to develop and demonstrate to visitors. This year, the themes will be based on the IYL themes.Laser Fun Day Logo_with date

  • The Seniors (my class) will be discussing Communications. I plan to involve my friends in the various CIAN labs to assist us in this demonstration, since Communications is an area that CIAN has certainly had a great impact in.
  • The Juniors will have Energy as their theme.
  • The Sophomores will talk about the impact of optics on Health.
  • Education will be covered both by SOCk and the College of Optical Sciences. We will discuss the college and how optics has impacted education in general.
  • Our contacts in the College of Agriculture, along with several optics people working on relevant projects, will cover the Agriculture theme.

Thanks to the SPIE grant, we are also redesigning our ever popular Laser Maze! The previous laser maze served us well for four years, but was made on a low budget, leaving several areas for us to improve upon. Laser Maze 2.0 will address many of the issues of the first version by being easier to assemble, stiffer in alignment, and easier to transport! Since it is a modular design by nature, it will also allow us to vary the laser maze design to make it more interesting.

Thanks for reading! I’ll be posting more about Laser Fun Day as we move forward toward the event.

To learn more about the International Year of Light, visit the IYL website.


Cropped Ben face


Benjamin Cromey is pursuing his Bachelors in Optical Sciences and Engineering at the University of Arizona. As a member of the Optics Ambassadors and the Vice President for the Student Optics Chapter, optics outreach is one of his passions. He participated in the 2012 IOU program with CIAN and has been working with 3D Holographic displays ever since. Ben’s posts.

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