International Day of Light

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2024 Date16 May 2024
2025 Date16 May 2025

International Day of Light

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The International Day of Light (IDL) is a worldwide celebration that highlights the importance of light and its various applications in science, culture, art, education, and sustainable development. The annual observance aims to raise awareness about light-based technologies, promote sustainable practices, and improve quality of life in numerous sectors such as energy, agriculture, and healthcare. This global initiative intends to illuminate the vital role of light in our daily lives and inspire future generations to recognize its transformative power and endless possibilities.

Launched by UNESCO in 2015 during the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies, the International Day of Light has been celebrated annually on 16 May since 2018. This day serves as an important platform for stakeholders such as scientists, industry professionals, artists, and educators to exchange ideas, share knowledge, and foster collaborations. South Africa, with its wealth of scientific and technological capabilities, actively participates in this initiative, contributing to local and global discussions about light and its potential to drive development and innovation.

Marking the anniversary of the first successful operation of the laser by Theodore Maiman in 1960, the International Day of Light provides an exciting opportunity for South Africa to explore and showcase its own achievements, discoveries, and advancements in the field of light science and technology. Be sure to join your fellow South Africans and the global community in celebrating this illuminating day on 16 May every year.

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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).
  • South Africa has been shifting towards renewable energy as part of its commitment to reducing carbon emissions and dependence on fossil fuels. Solar power plays a significant role in this effort, as the country aims to achieve at least 42% of new electricity generation from renewable sources by 2030.
  • A Reuters analysis of customs data found that South Africa imported solar PV panels worth nearly 2.2 billion rand ($135 million) in the first 5 months of 2022.

Top things to do in South Africa 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.

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