25 Mar 2015

The Open University celebrates the International Year of Light 2015

This year The Open University (OU) will be supporting the UNESCO International Year of Light (IYL2015) ¨C a year©\long celebration of the impact and achievements of light and light technology to energy, education, agriculture and health.

IYL2015 aims to raise global awareness about how light-based technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to global challenges in energy, education, agriculture, communication and health. Researchers at the OU are actively involved in several scientific areas related to the science of light including cold atoms research, astronomy, imaging and space exploration technologies and many more.

Throughout the year the OU will be hosting a number of free public events and activities to highlight its research in this area and the many interesting applications light has in everyday life from insights into Seasonal Affective Disorder to experiments people can do at home. Dr Lucia Marchetti, Post-Doctoral Research Associate in Astronomy at The Open University, is member of the IYL UK National committee and is coordinating the OU¡¯s involvement. She says:

¡°The International Year of Light is a tremendous opportunity for us to engage wider audiences with our fascinating research and with the incredible innovations that light technologies provide. We hope these talks inspire everyone, especially young people, to get excited about light science.¡±

Upcoming IYL 2015 public talk at the OU¡¯s campus in Milton Keynes:
The Nature of Light, Tuesday 31 March 2015, 6.00pm ¨C 8.30pm - three fascinating short talks on the nature of light given by experts in astronomy, physics and plasma technology. John Stocks from Milton Keynes-based company Ceravision will discuss the many and varied non visual aspects of light from seasonal affective disorder to seeing in the dark. OU astronomer Dr Lucia Marchetti will give a talk entitled ¡®Cosmic Light: The Story of Everything¡¯ explaining how light from the Cosmos is used to study all the celestial bodies (from stars to planets). Lastly, OU physics lecturer, Dr Calum MacCormick, will describe the astounding phenomenon of ultra-cold matter slowing light to a snail¡¯s pace. The evening is free to attend and will be of interest to general audiences and young people curious about science and scientific innovations.
Find out more and book your place

The OU is also offering a number of light-related courses and activities on OpenLearn ¨C the OU¡¯s home of free learning. Some of the many exciting activities available include: how to measure the speed of light using your microwave, how to make an underwater torch and how to make a lens out of ice.

To find out more about The International Year of Light 2015 at The Open University and the many free light-related activities available, please visit:


Notes to editor

UNESCO International Year of Light in 2015:

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