Women in Light Science exhibition in Spain

The Spanish Society of Optics and the Women in Physics Group of the Spanish Royal Society of Physics organize the exhibition “Women in Light Science” in Salamanca, Spain, on 1-4 September. The exhibition celebrates the scientific contribution of 12 women researchers who have contributed to fundamental discoveries in Optics and Photonics.

Two of the objectives of the United Nations in the Declaration of 2015 as the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL 2015) are “to promote women’s empowerment in science” and “to promote education amongst young people”. Following both lines, the organizers have composed an exhibition with the life aspects and scientific contribution of 12 women researchers who have contributed to fundamental discoveries in Optics and Photonics. Making those women and their contributions visible we help to create female models for future generations, especially for young female students.

Thanks to Madame de Châtelet‘s learnings and her translation of Newton’s Principia Mathematica the theories of Newton were reported. Martha Coston invented the Coston flare, a device for signaling at sea that contributed to save many lives. Henrietta Swan Leavittdiscovered the way to know the size of our Galaxy and the scale of the universe. Hedwig Kohnmade a meticulous work in spectrometry and pyrometry, both considered as illumination standards nowadays. Katherine Burr Blodgett invented the low-reflectance “invisible” glass.Yvette Cauchois created an X-ray spectrograph used to discover new elements of the periodic system. Maria Goeppert Mayer understood physics by photons. Marie Luise Spaeth invented the dye-laser and the developments of laser rangefinder. Rosalind Franklin registered famous Photo 51 identifying the helical structure of DNA. Martha Jane Bergin Thomas was a pioneering genius in the field of lighting research and was dedicated to the application of phosphors technology toward the advancements in electricity. Jean Mcpherson Bennetrealized precise methods for measuring optical surfaces. Jocelyn Bell Burnell discovered the first pulsar.

The exhibition opening will take place in the opening ceremony of the XI Spanish National Meeting in Optics that will be held in Salamanca, Spain, on 1-4 September.

The exhibition has been sponsored by Spanish Society of Optics (SEDOPTICA), the Women in Physic Group of the Royal Spanish Society of Physics (RSEF), the Gender Commission of University of Valencia, the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO), the Association of Scientific and Technologist Women (AMIT) and the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE).

For more information about IYL 2015 activities in Spain, please check the IYL 2015 Spanish National website.

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