The nation's capital will host two events Sept. 12 celebrating the International Year of Light, a global initiative declared by the United Nations to raise awareness of optical technologies. The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian will show children the wonders of light at 10 a.m. Hands-on activities include experimenting with LED orbs, interactive sensor-based video games and green-screen reporting. The National Academy of Sciences will hold a public symposium and reception at 6 p.m., celebrating U.S. innovation in light. Featured speakers include Nobel laureates Eric Betzig and Shuji Nakamura, National Science Foundation Director France Córdova, GE Lighting Manager Gerald Duffy and Michael Liehr, CEO of the newly established national integrated photonics manufacturing center, AIM Photonics. The programs will focus on the latest in light-based technologies while promoting improved public understanding of light’s role in the modern world. Organizers are the National Science Foundation, American Institute of Physics, American Physical Society, IEEE Photonics Society, National Academy of Sciences, The Optical Society (OSA) and SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics.