The year 2015 was a very important year for photonics, after the UN proclaimed it to be the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies. Many activities were organised across the world to celebrate the impact of optical science on modern day life. Following the success of this initiative, many outreach events continued into 2016 to mark the celebration of 100 years of The Optical Society.
For interesting perspectives and stories, I’d highly recommend checking out the official blog chronicling the personal experiences of those in the community (including my entry on “Luxury cars, lost golf balls and fried eggs: unusual excursions into the world of photonics“!). An additional great resource is the Optical Society’s free “Century of Optics” book, providing a fascinating snapshot of historical progress in optics and photonics over the past 100 years.
In the UK, the Imperial College London Optical Society regularly organises outreach events for local schools / the general public, including featuring in the Imperial Festival each year. If you’re around London and interested in science, this event is definitely worth visiting! The Optical Society London Local Section also often host events to promote Optics and Photonics to the local community – see their website for news and upcoming events.