About the Event

The International Day of Light (officially May 16th) is a day recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to celebrate and appreciate light and its role in science, technology, culture, art and education. It is observed on the anniversary of the first successful operation of the laser in 1960. Click here for more information on the International Day of Light.

International Day of Light Logo

This free event, held the following Saturday, celebrates the importance of light in our everyday lives and in our local community. Open to all ages, the event will have several displays and demonstrations from local optics clubs and businesses showcasing many properties and uses of light. In addition there will be a series of talks from members in our local optics community about optical phenomena in everyday life.

To tie in with light's influence in art and culture, there will also be a photography contest with photos showcasing the importance of light. All ages are allowed to enter. Finalists will have their photos displayed at the event, and winners will be given prizes. Details of the photography contest are listed below.

Event Schedule

5:30 PM: Doors open to public, lobby and booths open to public

5:45 – 7:15 PM: Featured Speakers in Hager Auditorium

  • 5:45 PM: "The Montana Optics and Photonics Industry"
    • Dr. Joseph Shaw, MSU Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor and Director of the Optical Technology Center
  • 6:00 PM: "Drone-based Remote Sensing and Agri-Photonics"
    • Mr. Bryan Scherrer, Master's Researcher in Dr. Joseph Shaw's Optical Remote Sensing Lab
  • 6:20 PM: "Optics in the Air"
    • Dr. Joseph Shaw, MSU Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor and Director of the Optical Technology Center
  • 6:50 PM: "Fishing with LiDAR"
    • Dr. Mike Roddewig, AdvR, Inc.

After Talks: Announcement of photo contest winners

7:30 PM: End of event

Visiting Companies and Clubs

SPIE MSU Student Chapter

IEEE MSU Student Chapter

Demonstrations courtesy of MSU Physics Department

Montana Science Center

Photography Contest Rules

Deadline for entries:

Monday, May 13th, 2019 by 5:00 PM (MST)

Submit entries to:



Gift cards to local businesses and a full-picture print will be awarded to the winner in each category.


  1. Entries must be the original work of the contestant, taken after April 2018
  2. One entry per contestant
  3. Each entry should include:
    1. Title of the photograph
    2. Name of the contestant
    3. Contest category (K-8, High School, Open)
    4. Date and location of the photograph
    5. A short (1-3 sentence) description of how the photo shows either some quality or the importance of light
    6. The preferred contact method of the contestant
  4. Photos will be judged 50% on content of the photo and 50% on the written description of how the photo exemplifies some quality or importance of light.
  5. Photographs cannot contain the following: alcohol, drugs, copyrighted or trademarked logos or material, or any illegal or inappropriate behavior. Entries containing such materials will be disqualified.
  6. Finalists will be contacted by Wednesday May 15th to be informed that they have made the finals and their photographs will be displayed at the IDL event on May 18th at the Museum of the Rockies.
  7. Winners will be announced at the IDL event on May 18th at 7:00 PM. You must be present to win.

By submitting the entry to the email address provided above, contestants are agreeing to grant the SPIE Student Chapter at Montana State University (SPIE MSU) the absolute and irrevocable right and permission to use, re-use, publish, and re-publish the photographs in displays related to the contest or IDL events; in SPIE MSU printed and electronic publications and in conjunction with any copyrighted matter, in any and all media now or hereafter known for illustration, promotion, art, advertising and trade, news, informational and educational purposes and to copyright the same, under its original name or otherwise. The contestant thereby releases and discharges SPIE MSU or any parent organization from any and all claims and demands arising out of or in connection with the use of the photos, including without limitation any and all claims for invasion of privacy.


Click here for a PDF version of the photography contest rules.



Montana State University