...and light-based technologies

That's right, 2015 is the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies—as proclaimed by The United Nations (UN) General Assembly 68th Session more than a year ago. "An International Year of Light is a tremendous opportunity to ensure that international policymakers and stakeholders are made aware of the problem-solving potential of light technology," said IYL 2015 Steering Committee Chair John Dudley.

IYL 2015 officially kicks off at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France, on January 19–20 with an opening ceremony involving international diplomats, decision-makers, Nobel laureates, CEOs, industry leaders, and engineers from around the globe. The event aims to inspire and raise awareness about the importance of light-based technologies and how light provides solutions to global challenges in a broad range of areas, including health.

But the IYL celebration actually began in 2014. For instance, a large public artwork display at the historic Amsterdam Central train station (The Netherlands) opened December 11th: A rainbow, projected on the large arch construction that spans the platforms, will be visible once a day for the duration of 2015. Find out more about upcoming events at the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies website: www.light2015.org.

Of course, light-based technologies are where fantasy turns to life-altering (and often, life-saving) reality. And every single year, this reality is showcased at biophotonics-focused events such as the annual Biomedical Optics Symposium (BiOS) at SPIE Photonics West, which runs February 7–12 in San Francisco, CA. Though you'll find fascinating options at every turn that week, these are my picks for event highlights:

• BiOS Expo (Saturday and Sunday, February 7–8);

• BiOS Hot Topics and awards plenary (Saturday, 7–9 pm);

• BiOS Student Networking Lunch with the Experts (Sunday, 12:30 pm);

• Translational Research Lunchtime Forum (Sunday, 12:30 pm);

• Workshop on photonics-relevant FDA policies and procedures for academics and startups (Sunday, 5–7 pm);

• Nobel Laureates Betzig and Moerner discuss fluorescence microscopy (Sunday, 7 pm);

• Nano/Biophotonics plenary with Gabriel Popescu on the use of optics to bridge molecular and cellular biology (Tuesday, 10:30 am);

• Neurophotonics plenary by Nobel Laureate Thomas C. Südhof, on the link to neuropsychiatric disorders of dysfunctioning neurexins and their ligands (Tuesday, 2 pm); and

• International Biomedical Optics Society group plenary by Stephen Boppart on Transforming Medicine and Surgery with Biophotonics (Tuesday, 7:30 pm).

I hope to see you there!

Barbara GoodeBarbara Goode
Editor in Chief

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