2021 Virtual International Day of Light Arizona

International Day of Light poster


1 to 6 p.m., May 16, 2021

A Virtual Live-streamed celebration of light and how optics and photonics make our lives better every day!

Optics and photonics are the science and engineering of light used everywhere, every day. Join us for this fun, free virtual event to explore and discover light, lasers, and Arizona’s world leaders in the science of light.

Unidentified handprints of children

1:00pm: For Kids

Welcome everyone from MC Zach Yentzer! We’ll kick off with fun, live crafts and experiments in light for kids. Flandrau’s Noël Hensley will be your guide to discovering:

  • What Do You Wonder? with SARSEF’s Danniey Wright, Brooke Meyer, and Sherrie Dennis. At home materials: paper, pencil, scissors, flashlight.
  • Rainbow Sand and How it Works with UArizona Physics Club members Sean Halford, Peter Hartman, and Bennett Skinner. At home materials: Tupperware, water, pair of eyeglasses, and a CD (compact disc).
Lasers and shapes


2:00pm: For Teens

Zach Yentzer will introduce you to local optics leaders then join your guide Olivia Fehlberg with Edmund Optics to learn about optical phenomena and how we get images from the asteroid Bennu:

  • Total Internal Reflection Waterfalls with Alyssa Baller, Undergraduate, Arizona Wyant Class of 2021.  At home materials: Laser pointer, empty gallon container, milk droplets, clear baking pan, water drain (sink, bathtub, etc.)
  • Microwave Speed of Light with Christian Pluchar, Doctoral Candidate, UArizona Wyant Class of 2023. At home materials: Microwave,  large candy bar or fruit by the foot, ruler.
  • Yes, We Can Take Images of the Surface of an Asteroid! with OSIRIS-REx Lead OCAMS Instrument Scientist Bashar Rizk PhD. At home materials: you’ll see some anaglyph stereo 3D images so find or make your own 3D glasses and bring them along.
Adult holding phone with two hands

3:40pm: For Teens and Parents

Learn about more of Arizona’s world leaders in optics and photonics with Zach Yentzer. Next, Lukas Gruber with Leonardo moderates a live presentation and Q&A with a world-renowned laser expert to learn how light and lasers are part of our daily life. 

  • How Lasers Are Used to Make Smartphones with Dr. Norman Hodgson.
several lasers

5:00pm: For the Entire Family

Zach Yentzer kicks off our grand finale:

  • Laser Light Music Show. Time to enjoy a virtual version of one of Flandrau’s famous laser light music shows with spectacular laser art to the music of Elton John.

International Day of Light is Everywhere on May 16

The International Day of Light celebrates light and the role it plays in science, culture and art, education, and sustainable development, and in fields as diverse as astronomy, medicine, communications, smart technology, and energy in Arizona. This is part of a UNESCO global event that allows people worldwide to participate in activities that demonstrate how science, technology, art and culture can help achieve the goals of UNESCO – education, equality, and peace.

Sign up:

Register here – One Link for all Sessions!

Event Sponsors

We gratefully acknowledge these industry partners that want to share their passion for optics and photonics with the our community.