Skip to main content

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.


Popular posts from this blog

#FacesofPhotonics: Rising Researcher Alina Zare

SPIE's #FacesofPhotonics is sharing the story of Alina Zare, Associate Professor at the The Machine Learning and Sensing Lab at the University of Florida. Dr. Zare was recognized as a 2018 Rising Researcher for her work in Electronic Imaging & Signal Processing, at the SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing conference.

This program recognizes early career professionals who conduct outstanding research in the defense, commercial, and scientific sensing, imaging, optics, or related fields. If you want to learn more about the program, the details are here.

Enjoy the interview with Alina!

1. Tell us about when you first became interested in optics and photonics. In my senior year of  undergraduate studies in computer science, I was taking an Image Processing elective.  I really enjoyed the course, and the professor for the class, Dr. Gerhard Ritter, encouraged me to do some undergraduate research.  
So I joined Dr. Paul Gader's research lab as a undergraduate researcher where I he…

#FacesofPhotonics: Photovoltaics PhD Student Arfa Karani

Meet this week's SPIE Faces of Photonics feature, Arfa Karani. Arfa is a physics PhD student at the University of Cambridge, studying the physics of solar cells. She is originally from India, but has lived outside her home country for many years while pursuing her education. 

Arfa was also President of the SPIE Student Chapter at the University of Cambridge in 2017-18, and continues to remain involved with the chapter when she's not hard at work in the university's Cavendish Lab.

Enjoy her interview!

1. How did you become interested in the optics and photonics field? Was there a person who inspired you?

My physics teacher at school inspired me. I got interested in studying optics because my curiosity was satisfied by this teacher, who was extremely enthusiastic about what they did. When you ask too many questions as a child, people try to divert your attention once they are tired of answering. Not this teacher.

I know it’s a bit cliché, but I was amazed by how one could cre…

#FacesofPhotonics and Women In Optics feature: IBM Researcher Anuja De Silva

Meet the SPIE Faces of Photonics star of the week, SPIE Member Anuja De Silva. Anuja grew up in Sri Lanka and now resides in Albany, New York, where she works as a materials and process researcher in the Semiconductor Technology Research division of IBM. Speaking of her work, she says, "I develop new types of materials and processes that help us to scale the size of computer chips... It's hardware development for next-generation semiconductor devices."

Anuja graduated with her Bachelor's in Chemistry from Mount Holyoke College and went on to get her Master's and PhD in Materials Chemistry from Cornell University. Upon conducting a research project for her undergraduate degree, she found her passion for optics and materials research.

"I have always been interested in math and science," Anuja shares. "The options in Sri Lanka, where I grew up, for a career as a research scientist were limited. My mother encouraged me to apply to college in the Unite…