domingo, 5 de julho de 2015

CONFERÊNCIA INTERNACIONAL SOBRE A LUZ NO PAVILHÃO DO CONHECIMENTO

O Público noticiou a conferência internacional sobre a luz que teve lugar na quinta e sexta feira em Lisboa: aqui.

Aqui ficam as minhas palavras introdutórias:

Wellcome everybody to the Multidisciplinary Conference Light, from the Earth to the Stars.

Let there be light. After a unanimously resolution of the United Nations 2015 is the International Year of Light and Light Based Technologies all over the world, including of course Portugal.  And, thanks to the Academia Europea and Ciencia Viva, we are now celebrating light and the extraordinary technologies associated with it at the Pavilon of Knowledge Ciencia Viva, in this Auditorium which now bears the name of our good friend Jose Mariano Gago (himself a man of light). We are celebrating  the phenomenon of light and the capacity of humankind to use light, visible and invisible light, for its material and intellectual profit.

Let there be light. Today and tomorrow we will hear talks and talk about light, we will see light and shed light across a variety of disciplines. Clearly in Physics and Chemistry, sciences which are united in the study and application of light, but also in Astronomy – the light from the stars will be a strong topic, in Biology – the early development of life in this planet is closed connected to the solar light -,  in Medicine – technologies based on light enable us to see the interior of our bodies -, in Engineering – light is in the modern world everywhere, from solar cells, LEDs and lasers to telecommunications, using microwaves and radiowaves, - in History – we will be reminded that the first Book on Optics was written by the Arab Ibn Al Hazen one thousand years ago (please do not forget that Portugal was at that time part of the Arabic world), and, last but not least, in Art – notable artists, including a photograph, an architect, a film direct and a plastic artist will call our attention at the very end to the fact that most forms of art would be impossible without light.  Across sciences and technologies, across different forms of culture, we are here united, as the planet is in this year, by light.

Let there be light. Light is the main way we have to interact with the world, in science as in culture at large. We should use this unique opportunity of the IYL to unite, motivate and inspire people to live and work together. In Portugal have been working with my colleagues of the National Commission of the IYL preparing and helping to prepare different initiatives across the country. Next Friday night, at my city, Coimbra, there will be a fantastic light show, using the videomapping techniques, commemorating the 725 years of the University.  On Saturday in Alentejo there will be in Alqueva, Alentejo, in a pretty small village, curiously called Light, Aldeia da Luz, a conference and an exhibition on light – this is one of the few dark sky reserves in Europe. In September, we will start a big program entitled “Let there be light!” in the basic and high schools of the whole country. There will be an Exhibition on Holography, in Aveiro and elsewhere. In November there will an event in Lisbon celebrating the 70 years of UNESCO.  In December there will be a Conference at the Gulbenkian Foundation, here in Lisbon, about light, in science and in art, with distinguished international guests. If we go to our webpage – you only have to ask Google - you will find the announcement of a conference next July in Oporto with the “Lights on” about cultural heritage and museums and a conference in Braga on “Communication and Light”, not to speak about international conferences on lasers in the sunny Algarve (International Conference on Advanced Laser Technologies) and on spectroscopy in Figueira da Foz, whose beach is known under the name of Praia da Luz, Beach of Light (Colloquium Spectroscopicum Internationale). A festival, entirely devoted to Light, under the title of “Lumina”, will take place at Cascais by the end of the year.

Let there be light. A special word about this city of Lisbon, where light is so special. If you have any doubts please take a look outside. The City Hall, which is partner of this conference,  is organizing an exhibition, starting at 15th July, about the Light of Lisbon, a light which appears in the movies through such distinguished film directors as Alain Tanner and Wim Wenders. Furthermore, the international exhibition “Within light/Inside glass" which is now in Venice, Italy, is going to open down town in Lisbon. Portugal will be in this year, as it is always, a country of light. Light is and will be everywhere.

Let there be light. There is, however, today some darkness in our light. We are missing here the presence of José Mariano Gago, who was an inspirer of this conference. It was not long ago that I talking to him about the International Year of Light.  His eyes were bright when he said that this was a great opportunity for science and science outreach. Here we are, inspired by his thinking and by his example, united by light, which is a physical phenomenon but also a metaphor, a powerful metaphor which denotes reason, understanding, truth. Light has a very good reputation. Science and education may be seen as motions from darkness to light. The Welsh poet and writer Dylan Thomas wrote a famous quote, which recently appeared in the film Insterstellar:


In a country where science and education are suffering from severe austerity, we should rage against the dying of the light.  This Conference will be, no doubt, an affirmation of light. All those who were part of the organization deserve our deep appreciation and our warm acknowledgement  Thank you very much.  



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