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Why Light? Ignacio Moreno, Co-Lead of IDL Spain Answers

The Day of Light is fast approaching and we continue our 'Why Light?' series interviewing Ignacio Moreno of the Universidad Miguel Hernandez de Elche in Spain. Ignacio is also President of the Spanish Society of Optics (SEDOPTICA) and the co-lead for the International Day of Light node in Spain. He answered questions in our series that leads up to the first International Day of Light, explaining what light means to him and to the greater global community.

The inaugural International Day of Light – IDL – will take place 16 May 2018. IDL is a global initiative that provides an annual focal point for the continued appreciation of light. This day recognizes light and the vital role it plays in science, culture and art, education, and sustainable development.

On 16 May, join SPIE and communities worldwide by participating in activities that illustrate how the science and art of light improves all our lives. For more information and to plan your own event, visit

Meet Ignacio Moreno,
Universidad Miguel Hernandez de Elche
President of SEDOPTICA
Co-Lead of the Acto Central del Día Internacional de la Luz en España

What about light inspires you?

Light science is amazing. I like the fact that you can “see” light phenomena. There are a lot of optical effects that you can find in nature with the naked eye. And many other demonstrations that you can show at home or teach in a classroom with very simple equipment.

In research, it is also a fascinating field. I totally agree with a recent comment by Andrew Forbes, where he said that in optics and photonics you can do research in the frontiers of science and technology with relatively affordable laboratory equipment. I feel very fortunate that I decided to follow a career in optics and photonics and work with light.

How can light help overcome a current global challenge?

It is becoming hard to find scientific and technological fields that have not been impacted by the invention of the laser, or by other light-based technologies. Nevertheless, I am convinced that we are only at the beginning. Light technologies are clean and fast. I believe they are the technology to overcome current global challenges. Biophotonics and imaging will provide essential tools for medical doctors, or for food inspection and treatment. Despite the great advances, we should improve the solar energy efficiency conversion, and the artificial light production and recycling, in order to reduce global warming effects. New displays and imaging techniques, space communications based on laser light, or quantum-based cryptography will revolutionize the way we communicate and interact.

What do you do to share your passion for light?

I love teaching. I enjoy when I am able to strongly capture the interest of my students. I like to show them some effects prior to my explanation, and then discuss what are their previous ideas. Then it is fascinating to see how they get the new concepts and how they learn, in class, but especially in the laboratory. The interaction with motivated students is a continuous source for new ideas and extremely stimulating.

But I also like to get out of the university environment and participate in some outreach activities for the general public. Every year I participate in the science fair weekend that our university organizes at the city of Elche, where I live. There we show some demonstrations of light science. It is especially stimulating to see how young children can become more interested after seeing some of these “magical” demonstrations. I feel strongly about how we may impact young kids to decide which kind of career they will like to follow.


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