From the April 2018 issue

City of Light hosts inaugural International Day of Light

By | Published: April 23, 2018 | Last updated on May 18, 2023
PARIS. The City of Light and a perfect setting for the inaugural UNESCO-declared International Day Of Light, which will feature talks by Nobel laureates, light shows, exhibitions and a celestial performance by International British Soprano Katerina Mina (below).  
Paris was a place of enlightenment in the 18th century and it became the centre of education, philosophy and learning. It was one of the first cities to introduce street lighting after the Great Exhibition of 1889.

On the evening of May 16th, 2018, (the anniversary of the first successful laser operation in 1960 by Theodore Maiman), the UNESCO headquarters, close to the Eiffel Tower, will light up in grand style to complete a full day of this flagship event involving over 64 countries.

Organised by an International scientific steering committee chaired by Professor John Dudley, it will kick start hundreds of regional and national activities around the world, which will celebrate an appreciation of light and the role it plays in science, culture, the arts, education and sustainability; all aiming to achieve UNESCO‘s goals in fields as diverse as medicine, agriculture, astronomy, communications and light based technologies.

Keynote speakers will include Nobel laureates theoretical physicist Kip Thorne (left), French physicist Claude Cohen Tannoudji (right), with a contribution from Maria Teresa Ruiz.

They will be joined by science and industry leaders, educators, diplomats and political stakeholders, with input from many societies such as SPIE, who are looking at photonics as a means to provide practical and cost effective ways in meeting global challenges in energy production and taking urgent action to combat climate change.

The day will also include round table discussions, light displays and exhibitions. Cypriot-born soprano Katerina Mina will perform at the opening and closing sessions of the Inauguration Ceremony singing two pieces of new music by English (Greater Manchester)  songwriter Linda Lamon. Katerina will be wearing bespoke gowns created exclusively for the event by fashion designer Victoria Sarri.

Linda was inspired to write Look To The Universe and Rainbow of Light Anthem after hearing speakers at the Starmus Festival of science, astronomy and the arts, including Professor Stephen Hawking, Richard Dawkins, Robert Wilson, Kip Thorne, Carolyn Porco, Jill Tarter and a quintet of Brians: Dr. Brian May, Brian Greene, Brian Cox, Brian Eno, Brian Schmidt.

The songs will be included on an EP, recorded by Katerina at Airtight Studios in Manchester and produced by Nigel Stonier. Nature’s Universe, which also contains three other tracks with lyrics mainly based on science and nature, can be pre-ordered for download on May 16th:

Visit Linda’s account with Music Glue to register with an email address for updates on the release date.

Look to the Universe combines in a remarkable way the beauty of music and the many themes of science,” says John Dudley, chair of the International Day of Light steering committee.

It is not too late for communities, schools or organisations to create your own International Day of Light science or arts event (can be any date within the year), or become a supporting partner for this global initiative.

Resources and information are listed on the main International Day of Light website: