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Troy, N.Y. -  12/3/2010

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 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.
An LRC graduate student wears the Daysimeter.
An LRC graduate student wears a Daysimeter.
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) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is the world's leading center for lighting research and education. Established in 1988 by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the LRC conducts research in light and human health, transportation lighting and safety, solid-state lighting, energy efficiency, and plant health. LRC lighting scientists with multidisciplinary expertise in research, technology, design, and human factors, collaborate with a global network of leading manufacturers and government agencies, developing innovative lighting solutions for projects that range from the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to U.S. Navy submarines to hospital neonatal intensive-care units. In 1990, the LRC became the first university research center to offer graduate degrees in lighting and today, offers a M.S. in lighting and a Ph.D. to educate future leaders in lighting. Learn more at

About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America's first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, 32 research centers, more than 145 academic programs, and a dynamic community made up of more than 7,900 students and more than 100,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include more than 145 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration.