Professor John Dudley

For promoting worldwide public awareness of the importance of physics by initiating the International Year of Light, a global year of science outreach reaching millions of people in over a hundred countries.

As the architect of the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015, John Dudley has inspired and led the worldwide physics community in promoting optics outreach on a global scale, and has raised public awareness of how light-based technologies provide practical solutions to challenges in fields including education, energy and health.


John’s leadership of the International Year of Light began in 2009 as a result of his personal initiative to extend national and regional efforts in optics outreach to a truly international level, under the banner of the United Nations (UN). From 2009-2013, he gathered worldwide support and succeeded to build a consortium of more than 100 partners including scientific societies (the IOP is a Founding Partner), NGOs, and international organisations such as IUPAP, ICSU and UNESCO.


John was personally involved in all phases of the year: preparing briefings for UNESCO and UN committees drafting official resolutions; developing the international programme of outreach; leading a delegation to the UN Headquarters in New York to explain in person the importance of optical science to ambassadors and diplomats. His vision and hard work saw the official proclamation of the International Year of Light during the 2013 UN General Assembly.


The International Year has been a tremendous success with thousands of events in over 120 countries reaching millions of citizens throughout the world. John also played a crucial role in ensuring that targeting policy-makers was a key component of the Year, and numerous forums during 2015 have brought together the public, scientists and political representatives to discuss the importance of long-term investment and education in science.
John has been committed to physics education and outreach throughout his career, but without any doubt, creating and driving The International Year of Light with its unique international reach and impact has been a crowning achievement.