International Day of Light

Quick Facts - GB

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2024 Date16 May 2024
2025 Date16 May 2025

International Day of Light

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International Day of Light History

International Day of Light (IDL) aims to promote the awareness, understanding and applications of light-related sciences and technologies which contribute significantly to sustainable development goals, enhancing humanitarian efforts, and improving the education, communications, and health sectors across the globe.

First launched in 2018 by UNESCO, IDL is an opportunity to learn, collaborate, and appreciate our advancements in light-based technologies through conferences, exhibits, and educational events, as well as to foster an appreciation for natural manifestations of light, such as the sun and the stars. The date of the event, May 16th, was chosen in commemoration of the first successful operation of the laser, a crucial and transformative light-based technology, by physicist Theodore Maiman in 1960.

International Day of Light In the UK reiterates the commitment to furthering research and innovation in the field, sharing knowledge and resources to improve the lives of future generations. International Day of Light is celebrated on May 16th each year.

International Day of Light facts

  • Light travels in a straight line. If objects are in its path, they will cause the light to bend or refract.
  • The speed of light is 186,282 miles or 299,792 km per second.
  • Radiant light can be produced through various processes, such as incandescence (light resulting from heat), fluorescence (light emitted by a substance when it absorbs light or other electromagnetic radiation), chemiluminescence (light from a chemical reaction), and bioluminescence (light produced by a living organism).
  • Despite its relatively cloudy and cool climate, the UK is investing heavily in solar energy. There are over 1 million solar installations across the country, and solar power accounted for 4.2% of the UK's electricity generation in 2019.
  • The British scientist James Clerk Maxwell made significant contributions to the understanding of light and electromagnetic waves, including accurately predicting the speed of light in the 19th century.

Top things to do in the UK for International Day of Light

  • Discover events near you. UNESCO hosts activities and events for people of all ages and backgrounds. They participate globally so that everyone around the world can gain an appreciation for the central role of light in science and culture.
  • Stay informed about upcoming news. UNESCO periodically releases news about scientific progress involving light technology.
  • Attend Light Festivals: Cities like Nottingham and London have held Light Night Festivals in the past, illuminating the cities with beautiful displays.
  • Attend the Light Festival in London: This annual festival displays some of the world’s most innovative artists working with light. This event generally includes various activities related to lighting, art installations, and live performances.

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