Celebrating a Year of Light

Symposium at UC Santa Barbara will feature talks by four Nobel laureates

The United Nations declared 2015 the International Year of Light to recognize the importance of light and light-based technologies in revolutionizing everyday life around the world and providing new and innovative solutions to global issues.

To celebrate the International Year of Light, UC Santa Barbara’s College of Engineering and Institute for Energy Efficiency (IEE) are hosting a symposium Thursday, Oct. 8, from 1 to 7:30 p.m., in the campus’s Corwin Pavilion. The event is free and open to the public.

The daylong conference will feature presentations and discussions by experts in the field. Three UCSB faculty members — Herb Kroemer, Alan Heeger and Shuji Nakamura — received Nobel prizes for their light-based research and each will be discussing his work. Kroemer, professor of electrical and computer engineering and of materials, received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2000 “for developing semiconductor heterostructures used in high-speed and optoelectronics,” while Heeger, also a professor of electrical and computer engineering, won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry that same year “for the discovery and development of conductive polymers.” Nakamura, another professor of materials and of electrical and computer engineering, won the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics “for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes, which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources.”

Steven Chu, former U.S. Secretary of Energy and a recipient of the Nobel Prize for his own work with light-based research, will give the symposium’s keynote lecture. John Bowers, a leading authority on photonics and optoelectronics, will also deliver a lecture on the future of the emerging industry. Bowers is a co-director of the IEE and the head of the West Coast division of the newly established American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics, a multimillion-dollar federally funded endeavor that will simultaneously improve telecommunications and computer technology, enhancing energy efficiency and promoting the country’s economy.

The Year of Light symposium kicks off at 1 p.m. with the first of four individual sessions, each focused on different areas of light technology. A reception and poster session at Lagoon Plaza will follow at 5:30 p.m., featuring current research from UCSB faculty and students as well as from high school students participating in the UCSB Chip Camp program. The symposium concludes with Chu’s keynote lecture at 6:30 p.m.

Seating is limited, and attendees are encouraged to RSVP at https://year-of-light.eventbrite.com. Questions can be directed to Savannah Swartz at savannah@iee.ucsb.edu.

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