The Italian IYL2015 stamp
An Italian Postal Service postcard showing the IYL2015 stamp canceled on the "first day of issue".
The International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL2015) is a truly global effort at raising awareness of the availability of solutions, through light, to myriad problems facing societies today in both developing and developed countries. The wonderful thing about this broadly-themed Year of “Light” is that it brings to the forefront the need to unite scientists and philosophers, artists and poets if we are to bring about the ultimate goal of the International Year, namely the improvement in quality of life for the billions of inhabitants of our planet. As INAF or SAlt can attest, that is sometimes equated with the absence of light, at least that which is unwanted and unneeded.
Historically, the IYL2015 had a particularly European beginning, which can be appreciated in the article of Physics World blog authored by SIF President Luisa Cifarelli. In fact, the Year of Light has more specifically had somewhat of an Italian beginning, with the launching event for the IYL initiative in the beautiful town of Varenna in the summer of 2011 (not to mention the fact that Galileo Galilei helped set the stage for this or any other largely scientific International Year some four centuries earlier). Considering the strong IYL efforts of SIF and many other Italian organizations for which it is acting as a contact hub, the location of the IYL2015 Global Secretariat at the Abdus Salam ICTP in Trieste, and the broad support of the Vatican, one can say that the International Year of Light has a notably Italian present as well.
It is therefore fitting and a great honor to have the emission of an Italian stamp dedicated to the Year of Light.
The stamp that almost wasn't – many thanks are owed to the ICTP’s Mail Office and its Director's office for noticing the ever-so-rapidly approaching deadline for new stamp proposals. The efforts of the stamp designer Tiziana Trinca are also much appreciated: she came up with an abstract design that is both beautiful and representative of the wide range of stakeholders in IYL2015. And many thanks to SIF staff, and Luisa Cifarelli in particular, for helping the person with responsibility for the stamp – an American with little experience in local bureaucracy – to make sure that the stamp stayed on track for its on-time issuance on the day of the Italian IYL2015 Opening in Torino on 26 January 2015.
Finally, it is a great pleasure to see that another stamp is being issued from the Italian peninsula this year: the Vatican has announced that it is issuing a commemorative IYL2015 stamp, reinforcing its “commitment to scientific research,” with an issue date of 19 February 2015. The Vatican stamp also highlights the work of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel on the creation of the stars. Light and Enlightenment. In this “century of the photon” we will need both.