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LRC News

Winter 2011
LD+A Magazine Recognizes LRC Researcher as Future Leader in Lighting

Aaron SmithLRC Senior Research Specialist and graduate student Aaron Smith was recently recognized by LD+A, the magazine of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA), as one of 25 rising stars in the lighting profession. Smith just completed the LRC's Master of Science in lighting program, where his thesis focused on a practical daylighting strategy for improving the efficient use of electric lighting in commercial applications.

According to LD+A, its editors reached out to IES leadership and lighting professionals from all corners of the industry for recommendations in order to compile their list of 25 “Future Leaders: The next generation of lighting luminaires.” Smith’s profile is featured in LD+A’s December 2010 issue.

“Aaron has demonstrated a passion for improving quality of life through lighting,” said LRC Director Mark Rea, Ph.D. “His dedication and leadership have led to the development of new tools and technologies that will help maximize the use of daylighting for better energy efficiency and to improve human health and well-being.”

Daylighting Designs for Schools
Smith’s current area of interest is daylighting design, and he is currently developing a set of guidelines for architects, designers, and school administrators to enable the development of school building designs that maximize students’ health, well-being, and performance through daylighting.

The guidelines are based on results from LRC field studies where scientists examined how light exposure impacted teen sleep patterns. The students’ daily light exposures were measured using a personal circadian light meter, called the Daysimeter, which monitors and logs an individual’s light exposure and rest/activity patterns over an extended period of time, according to principal investigator Mariana Figueiro, Ph.D. The field studies were funded by the U.S. Green Building Council and, in part, by a grant from the Trans-National Institutes of Health Genes, Environment and Health Initiative (NIH-GEI).

Next Generation Daysimeter
The current generation Daysimeter, a personal light exposure meter, has been used extensively in LRC research efforts and several investigators around the world are starting to use this novel instrument to quantify light as a regulator of circadian rhythms. The instrument must be worn close to the eyes and some subjects have found it to be uncomfortable to wear over long periods of time. Smith is leading an engineering team in an NIH-funded project to develop the next generation Daysimeter, one with a more sleek and comfortable design that’s easy for researchers to configure and control with wireless communication and enhanced biofeedback capabilities, according to Figueiro.

Prior to joining the LRC in 2008, Smith received a bachelor’s in engineering technology from California State University, Long Beach and spent eight years as an applications engineer for the lighting industry. He received his master’s in lighting from Rensselaer in December 2010.

About the Lighting Research Center

The Lighting Research Center (LRC) is part of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute of Troy, N.Y., and is the leading university-based research center devoted to lighting. The LRC offers the world's premier graduate education in lighting, including one- and two-year master's programs and a Ph.D. program. Since 1988 the LRC has built an international reputation as a reliable source for objective information about lighting technologies, applications, and products. The LRC also provides training programs for government agencies, utilities, contractors, lighting designers, and other lighting professionals. Visit

Contact:lrcnewsletter@rpi.eduPhotos & Graphics:Dennis Guyon
Editor:Mary CimoWeb Production:Dennis Guyon
Contributing Writers:Jennifer Taylor, Mary Cimo, Dennis Guyon
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