International Year of Light: 5 events on Women and Science

The International Year of Light was officially inaugurated this week by the United Nations in Paris. With this initiative, the UN intends to raise awareness on something we use everyday, but tend to take for granted. From the lasers used to scan items at a grocery store to solar energy, light plays a crucial role not only in our every day lives but also in the development of new solutions to global challenges. At the heart of these new solutions: science and experimentation.

As Ban Ki Moon, Secretary General of the UN explained “The International Year of Light can be used to expand scientific cooperation (…) advance education in the basic sciences, and engage talented young minds.” This means two things: educating boys AND girls to the importance of light technologies and allowing more women to contribute. Among the many events organized for the International Year of Light, we have selected 5 interesting initiatives dedicated to doing just that.

February 12th 2015: Girls, Boys and Photonics, Barcelona, Spain

The Institute of Photonic Sciences of Barcelona will open its doors to secondary school girls and boys for a morning full of experiences, workshops and talks on photonics. According to UNESCO “Photonics is the science and technology of generating, controlling and detecting photons, which are particles of light. The 21st century will depend as much on photonics as the 20th century depended on electronics.” The event is organized by GoPhoton!, a European project of outreach in photonics.

March 9th 2015: Communicating with light, Southampton, UK

To celebrate the International Women’s Day, the Optoelectronics Research Center, one of the leading institutes for photonics research based at the University of Southampton, will organize a workshop with a double objective: to educate on light technologies in communication and encourage women to go into science.

May 22nd 2015: Pathways to Excellence, Experiences of Illuminating Women in Science, Uppsala, Sweden

This symposium will celebrate women in science and address the concerns of the new generation. Women scientists from all over the world will share their experience and give their take on the evolution of the place of women in science over the years. The event is open to the public and co-organized by the Young Academy of Europe and SciLifeLab, and co-sponsored by the Academia Europea and the University of Uppsala.

June 25th 2015: Light spots – Focus on women scientists, Saarbrücken, Germany

The University of Saarland will give the stage to high profile women scientists working on light. This symposium is organized by the Unit of Gender Equality of the University of Saarland, graduate school for computer science.

October 10th 2015: 5th Girl’s Technology congress, Berlin, Germany

Another GoPhoton initiative, the 5th Girl’s Technology congress will introduce 160 girls to photonics. In the morning, they will visit companies and research institutes to learn about career opportunities and meet with role models who will share their experiences. In the afternoon, workshops will allow the girls to get started in photonics via hands-on experiments.  

For Women in Science

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