When you think about light, what comes to mind? Do you think of a campfire in a dark forest, stars from a galaxy far away, or the neon sign across your street? However you choose to envision it, light is all around us. Humans have had a long history of experimenting with different ways to utilize light. Some of the greatest minds have dedicated their lives to understand how to make light, and how to use it. Light is an integral part of how we communicate, navigate, learn and explore. This year, Arizona State University LightWorks in partnership with other departments throughout ASU celebrate innovators from the past and present who have contributed to light science and its applications through the United Nations’ International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL 2015). To participate in the university’s light-oriented events, continue to visit the LightWorks website, asulightworks.com. “Light doesn’t just provide us the ability to see, it is a power source, a source of inspiration for writers and artists, and a mechanism through which we can communicate and discover,” said Gary Dirks, director of ASU LightWorks and the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. “At ASU LightWorks and across the university, we embrace the entire spectrum of light-oriented research, expression and discovery. By celebrating the International Year of Light with the United Nations, we can illuminate all that our students and researchers are doing with light and how their work impacts the globe.” Inaugurated by the United Nations General Assembly, the IYL 2015 is a global initiative that highlights the importance of light and optical technologies in our lives, for our futures, and for the development of society. Below is a statement about IYL 2015 from the UN. Light plays a central role in human activities. On the most fundamental level through photosynthesis, light is necessary to the existence of life itself, and the many applications of light have revolutionized society through medicine, communications, entertainment and culture. Industries based on light are major economic drivers, and light-based technologies directly respond to the needs of humankind by providing access to information, promoting sustainable development, and increasing societal health and well-being. -- IYL 2015 “Light is a powerful unifying theme because it’s both a scientific construct, in fields ranging from theoretical physics to experimental biofuels and also a metaphor with deep resonances for religion, literature and visual art,” said Joey Eschrich, editor and program manager for the Center for Science and the Imagination. “Focusing on light allows us to create spaces where people from diverse backgrounds can share their insights and discover unexpected points of connection. People from every walk of life and every intellectual background have something valuable to contribute to a dialogue about light.” By striving to bring together different stakeholders that promote advancements in light and light-based technologies, LightWorks proudly joins the IYL 2015 initiative to emphasize the importance of light in our communities. Our objective is to raise awareness about the multi-faceted nature of light in light-inspired sciences, technology, and art at ASU and beyond. For a list of upcoming light-oriented events at ASU, or if you know of an ASU event you would like to share, please click here. Written by Gabrielle Olson and Sarah Mason, ASU LightWorks Photos retrieved from ASU Art Museum and the International Year of Light website.