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CEO DATELINE – Science groups mark new day for celebrating light

May 15, 2018
By Lori Sharn

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Associations focused on the science of light and light-based technologies are key supporters of the first International Day of Light, which will be celebrated May 16 with events around the world.

Top executives of several associations will be in Paris for the flagship festivities, including Elizabeth Rogan, CEO of The Optical Society; Kent Rochford, new CEO of SPIE—The International Society for Optics and Photonics; and retiring SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs.

“As early supporters of both the International Year of Light in 2015 and the now-annual International Day, SPIE is proud to continue its support during this year’s event," Rochford said in a news statement. “A critical part of the SPIE mission is to advance the science of light and light-based technologies, and draw attention to the many ways in which light improves and enhances our lives on a daily basis.”

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), based in Paris, proclaimed an annual day to celebrate light. The appreciation will be held each year on May 16, the anniversary of the first successful operation of a laser in 1960.

The program in Paris includes talks and roundtables with scientists, and the illumination of UNESCO headquarters.

In Washington, D.C., three groups are supporting an “innovative visual experience” with an art exhibit by the Nonotak studio.  The ARTECHOUSE digital art gallery, at 1238 Maryland Ave. SW, will host private viewings on May 16.  The exhibit will open to the public May 17 through June 30.  The exhibit is presented in partnership with the Optical Society, the American Physical Society, and the American Institute of Physics’ Venture Partnership Fund.

SPIE created many free digital resources, available at, including the official logo in multiple languages.  SPIE is also holding an International Day of Light photo contest.