A central message of the International Day of Light 2021 will encourage the public expression of confidence in the scientific process

For this year’s International Day of Light celebration on 16 May, the International Day of Light Steering Committee announced the launch of the Trust Science pledge, a worldwide campaign to promote support for the scientific process and to acknowledge the many benefits of science for society.

Crises such as the coronavirus pandemic demonstrate the importance of scientific research and remind us how much we depend on dedicated professionals to find evidence-based solutions to global challenges.  To recognize the central role played by science in society, the Trust Science pledge invites the general public to join leading scientists worldwide to affirm confidence in the process of scientific research and discovery.

To date, the pledge has seen enthusiastic support worldwide with founding signatories including Nobel laureates, UNESCO L’Oréal For Women in Science prize winners, Presidents and CEOs of major scientific bodies, as well as scientists and students. The pledge is now being shared widely to invite all interested individuals to take part.

The Trust Science pledge states: “Trust in evidence-based, scientific facts is essential for providing sustainable solutions to today’s challenges. By adding my name to this declaration and pledge, I recognize the key role that scientific research and discovery plays in improving quality of life for all.”

The Trust Science campaign is organized by the IEEE Photonics Society, SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, and The Optical Society (OSA), together with the International Day of Light Steering Committee.

“The events of the past year have spotlighted science’s crucial role in solving critical global problems,” said Steering Committee Chair John Dudley from the Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté in France. 

“This campaign will allow people around the world to join us in affirming support for science and the scientific process. We encourage all to sign, and our hope is that this will stimulate valuable discussions within families, at the workplace and in educational settings.”

In the context of the International Day of Light, the campaign will also highlight a number of Champions, research leaders in broad areas of light science and technology, including solar energy, the study of cultural heritage and healthcare.

Several IEEE members will be featured as “Champions of Science”. A few examples are: 

“Finding Cancer Sooner & Deeper”
Junjie Yao
Duke University, USA

Did you know when objects absorb light they give off tiny ultrasound waves just like a dolphin? Even in the human body. Junjie Yao is a bioengineer who listens to the light-induced ultrasound that emits from the human body and takes high-resolution pictures of the insides of cells, tissues, and organs. Ultrasound waves combined with light techniques allow him to see deeper and more clearly into the body than light or ultrasound would on its own. His technology can help us detect cancer more quickly, better understand the human brain and visualize human aging in new ways.

“Defeating Dangerous Bacteria and Viruses”
Neysha Lobo-Ploch
FBH Berlin, Germany
UVphotonics NT GmbH, Germany

Neysha Lobo-Ploch is a scientist who fabricates high-efficiency LEDs that are compact and produce ultraviolet frequencies of light. With her UV LEDs tuned to 265 nanometers, you can damage the DNA of bacteria or viruses in water, air, or on surfaces so they can no longer reproduce. You can also use it as a detector for gases, proteins, and vitamins. Her team’s UV LEDs operate at low voltages and are quick, which work well for water purification, medical diagnostics, phototherapy, and sensing systems.

“Using Your Phone to Test Your Blood”
Aydogan Ozcan
University of California, Los Angeles, USA

Ozcan Aydogan is an engineer who uses the science of light to develop microscopes and sensors that can run on mobile phones. He and his team developed a photonic sensor that can help rapidly detect bacteria in bodily fluids or water samples by capturing periodic holographic images of live bacteria. The collected data feed into a neural network, which rapidly senses bacterial colony growth and then identifies each species by its characteristic shape and growth pattern. So now you can test your blood or water samples using the same device where you play Candy Crush!

 “Developing Tiny Wires for Solar Energy and Space”
Hannah Joyce
University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

Hannah Joyce is a nano-material engineer specializing in nanowires, tiny wires which are less than 1000th the diameter of human hair. Solar cells made with nanowires are efficient, lightweight, and more durable than traditional solar cells. But don’t let their small size deceive you. They can also tolerate up to 40 times as much high-energy radiation, and can be rolled up to save space, making them great candidates for use in outer space exploration!

To sign the pledge and to learn more, please visit: www.trust-science.org

About the International Day of Light
The International Day of Light (IDL) is a worldwide initiative that provides an annual focal point for the continued appreciation of light and the role it plays in science, culture and art, education and sustainable development, and in fields as diverse as medicine, communications and energy. 

The International Day of Light is administered from the International Basic Science Programme (IBSP) of UNESCO by a Steering Committee that includes representatives from a broad range of international partners: the American Institute of Physics (AIP), the American Physical Society (APS), Bosca, the China International Optoelectronic Exhibition (CIOE), Chinese Optical Society (COS), the European Centres for Outreach in Photonics (ECOP), the European Photonics Industry Consortium (EPIC), the European Physical Society (EPS), the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), the IEEE Photonics Society (IPS), the International Commission on Illumination (CIE), lightsources.org – the international network of accelerator based light sources, Light: Science and Applications, The Optical Society (OSA), Tampere University, SPIE, the International Society for Optics and Photonics, SESAME, Signify, Tampere University, Transitions, the Université de Franche-Comté and Velux.

For information about the International Day of Light, please visit www.lightday.org