Lighting : Lighting February 2015 - Vol 35 Issue 1
8 LIGHTING MAGAZINE | February/March 2015 from the editor Welcome to 2015 and the International Year of Light (IYL). After much lobbying, UNESCO agreed that the world should focus its attention of light during 2015. Of course light is much more than lighting and I have asked one of Australia’s pre- eminent astronomers, Dr Fred Watson, a member of the IYL Australia Committee, to write a guest editorial to launch the IYL in Lighting. Light sustains all life on Earth; its vital role has a special place in most religions at both a practical level (“let there be light”) and at a metaphysical level (representing, for example, knowledge). Technology is increasingly becoming more light dependent: machine vision, quantum computing, the internet of things (using lifi rather than wifi) to name three from the huge field of photonics. Many of the developments stem from converging technologies, initially as electronics but in the not too distant future as light-based “electronics”. The disruptions and uncertainties experienced in the lighting industry will continue for the next several years as technologies fight for a foothold with one or maybe a few, becoming industry-standards. Celebrating light this year won’t make the journey easier but, hopefully, the users of light and lighting will be sensitised to its importance, as well as, to its ability when skilfully used to uplift the spirit. – Warren Julian Warren Julian Editor Fred Watson Darkness was upon the face of the deep Let there be light – and darkness There can’t be many readers of this publication who are unaware that 2015 is the International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies. A magazine that eloquently celebrates the art and science of lighting design is hardly going to... well, hide its light under a bushel. So it was with more than a little trepidation that this geeky astronomer accepted the invitation to write a guest editorial in honour of the International Year of Light. Astronomers do have much to celebrate in IYL. Until the 1930s, every scrap of information about the Universe came to us in the form of light. Admittedly, once radio telescopes began to make inroads into the invisible regions of the electromagnetic spectrum, the game changed, and, today, there’s no portion of that vast continuum of radiation that is off-limits to ground- or space- based telescopes. But optical astronomy – the old-fashioned kind, using visible light – still reigns supreme. Today’s optical astronomers are able to glean the most astonishing information from starlight. For example, with exotic calibration tools like iodine cells and laser combs, they can measure a star’s speed with a precision better than one metre per second – a slow walking pace. Over time, this miniscule Doppler shift can reveal the existence of orbiting planets by the wobble they induce on their parent star. More exciting still are the possibilities offered by the coming generation of Extremely Large Telescopes, which will boast mirrors larger than 20 metres in diameter. Within the next ten years, astronomers will have the capability not only to see these distant exoplanets directly, but also to detect tracers of life in their atmospheres. The discovery of such biomarkers would profoundly alter the way we see ourselves, and our place in space. With optical astronomy on the brink of a new golden age, it’s no idle boast that the sky is, indeed, the limit.
Lighting December 2014 - Vol 34 Issue 6
Lighting April 2015 - Vol 35 Issue 2