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Dr Anne-Maria Brennan calls for scientists and science students to engage as a global community

"Challenge adversity in the pursuit of knowledge" urges Dr Anne-Maria Brennan, Principal Lecturer in Bioscience and Forensic Biology at LSBU
22 June 2015

Dr Anne-Maria Brennan called for scientists, students of science and policy makers to come together as a community after the United Nations proclaimed 2015 as the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL 2015).

Dr Anne-Maria Brennan - who is a member of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee - shared her views in the Science in Parliament journal and stated why she believes the IYL 2015 announcement sends out an important message to policy makers and scientific advisors everywhere.

Brennan highlighted the example of scientist and philosopher Ibn Al-Haytham, who was born in Basra in 965AD and considered the founder of the science of optics.

Writing in Science in Parliament, Dr Brennan states: "It's not every day that you get to celebrate a millennium, but 2015 represents the 1000th anniversary of the publication of Kitab Al-Manzir (The Book of Optics). The book was just one of over 200 written by Ibn Al-Haytham which has survived and gone on to become one of the key works in establishing the science of optics. It is for that reason that the Ibn Al-Haytham initiative has become the focal point for the International Year of Light celebrations.

"Many scientists have used Ibn Al-Haytham's work as an example to inspire the scientific community, and young students of science in particular, to engage as a global community. There are other valuable lessons in the story of Ibn Al-Haytham. Today, the word Basra conjures up images of war and instability, yet scientific heritage shows that this was not always the case. In this way it provides a positive role model of a young scientist who, as a citizen of the world, challenged adversity in his continued pursuit of knowledge."

The International Year of Light 2015 will promote improved understanding of the central role of light in science, from the first studies of optics 1000 years ago to discoveries in optical communications that power the Internet today.