The International Year of Light closes in Khartoum

06 April 2016

On the 30th of March 2016, the UNESCO Representative to Sudan, Dr. Pavel Kroupkine, participated in the closing ceremony for the International Year of Light, organized by the Sudanese National Commission for Education, Science and Culture. The ceremony brought together physicists from different Sudanese universities, who did significant contribution to its warm atmosphere.

The International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL 2015), was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly on 20 December 2013 following the proposal of UNESCO (the decision of UNESCO’s Executive Board was made in 2012). The UN has recognized the importance of raising global awareness about how light-based technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to global challenges in energy, education, agriculture and health. Light plays a vital role in our daily lives and is an imperative cross-cutting discipline of science in the 21st century. It has revolutionized medicine, opened up international communication via the Internet, and continues to be central to linking cultural, economic and political aspects of the global society.

One of the objectives of IYL2015 was to commemorate noteworthy anniversaries of the science of light – from the first studies of optics 1,000 years ago to discoveries in optical communications that power the Internet today:

  • 1000 years ago, an Arab scientist Ibn al-Haytham published his seminal work on optics, which happened during a period of heightened creativity and innovation known as the Islamic Golden Age.
  • Leaping forward to 1815, the next milestone is Augustin-Jean Fresnel’s theory of light as a wave.
  • Then comes James Clerk Maxwell’s description of the electromagnetic theory of light, in 1865.
  • Albert Einstein joins the Hall of Fame for his general theory of relativity in 1916, which confirmed the centrality of light in both space and time; he also invented the theory of photo-effect (1905), which brought him the Nobel Prize.
  • Last but not least, we shall pay tribute to Arno Penzias and Robert Woodrow Wilson for their 1965 discovery of Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, an echo of the origin of the Universe which enables us to ‘map’ the Universe as it would have appeared shortly after the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago, using sophisticated technologies.

For the event in Khartoum the welcoming speeches were delivered by the General Secretary of the National Commission, Dr. Abdulgader Noureddin, by the Chair of the Science Committee in the National Commission, Prof. Ali ElTahir Sherifeldin, by the Deputy General Secretary of the National Commission, Dr. Wafaa Sidahmed, and by the Head of the Khartoum office and UNESCO Representative to Sudan, Dr. Pavel Kroupkine. After the speeches the participating physicists made several presentations about different aspects of the science of light.