International project started with popular science lectures in the Saint-Petersburg State Stieglitz Art and Industry Academy. Professor Charles Falco from University of Arizona talked about the contribution of the XI century Arab scientist Ibn al-Haytham in Renaissance art; Sergei Stafeev, the dean of the ITMO University Natural Sciences Faculty, explained the optics affect on the achievements of architecture, painting and theater at different stages of civilization development. Professor Alessandro Farini from the University of Florence, an expert in the field of interaction of optics and creativity, impressed guests with visual illusions.
At the opening ceremony, governor Georgy Poltavchenko said that St. Petersburg rightly takes the baton from Paris, as here some important discoveries and domestic developments in the field of optics and technology were made - from Mikhail Lomonosov’s "night-vision pipe" to the country's first computing machine LITMO-1and the Nobel laureate Zhores Alferov’s works on the development of semiconductor heterostructures used in high-speed optoelectronics.
"Light-based technologies are used not just in high-tech areas, such as aviation and space, but also in housing and communal services. The latter is very important because it allows doing a lot for the city and citizens”, the governor said. “Light is always associated with progress  and development. I am confident that this Year of Light will not leave anyone uninvolved, especially in our beautiful city, which is itself a world wonder."
In conclusion, the governor thanked ITMO University for significant contribution to the development of optical technologies in Russia; the university rector Vladimir Vasiliev, in turn, expressed his gratitude to the foreign counterparts of SPIE and OSA, members of the student's optical societies, presenters, speakers and organizers at the Year of Light events.
"We have planned 64 different events for the coming year, and our main goal is to attract residents and visitors to the amazing phenomena of optics and light”, Vladimir Vasiliev emphasizes. “Nearly 90% of all information we receive visually, so understanding the laws of optics and work with light is very important."
Today, in the honor of the Year of Light the City ТV Tower and the Trinity Bridge will flash until midnight. The Palace Bridge lights will sparkle with colored lights till 6th of April.
As a part of the Year of Light in St. Petersburg the Optics-2015 and Lighting design-2015 conferences, the International Symposium of Display Holography and International Otical Workshop will be held. On the 1st of July the Magic of Light exhibition will start, where the Faberge Easter Eggs optical clones will be presented. News and events of the International Year of Light and Light-based technologies can be monitored on the official website of the event.