The Downing Street Christmas lights have been switched on carrying the International Year of Light (IYOL) logo. Positioned directly outside the home of the UK’s Prime Minister, David Cameron, the tree carries three lights carrying seasonal representations of the IYOL symbol, including a parade of reindeer in a spectrum of colours that is also used in the IYOL’s sun logo.
2015 was designated as a year-long celebration of light by the United Nations with the aim of promoting photonics technologies, raising awareness of light pollution and energy waste, and sustainable lighting in the developing world.
In the UK, over 40 individuals and organisations representing science, engineering, culture and the arts are working together to mark the year through an impactful national programme of events and activities.
Dr Beth Taylor, chair of the UK National Committee for IYOL, commented: ‘We couldn’t wish for a better start to the year than to have it celebrated in the lights of the Downing Street Christmas tree. This gives us a great foundation to build on as we work to make an impact, and achieve our key goals, throughout 2015. I am very grateful to the team at 10 Downing Street and the lighting specialists who have made this possible.’
The year marks a number of inspirational scientific anniversaries including the 1,000th anniversary of the publication of early works on optics by Islamic scholar Ibn Al-Haytham and 200 years since Augustin-Jean Fresnel proposed the notion of light as a wave.