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                             Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Contact:   Rebekah Mullaney
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Troy, NY -  9/12/2003

Lighting a new world:

Lighting and business leaders gather in Saratoga Springs, NY to chart a new course

In what is being described as "the First Continental Congress of Lighting," a proactive coalition of researchers, utility officials, government, state agencies, manufacturers, designers, and engineers will gather on October 22, 2003, in Saratoga Springs, New York, to chart a new, socially responsible course for the field of lighting.

The group will assemble at the "Bridges in Light" symposium. This meeting will be historic. "No other gathering of the industry's most influential players has ever been called for this type of collective effort," said Mark Rea, Ph.D., chair of the symposium. Dr. Rea is also director of the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

The daylong work session is being likened to the drafting of a new constitution, or charter, for lighting. Leaders and visionaries from all aspects of the lighting world will be on hand to contribute to the process. A cornerstone to be discussed at the symposium is the formation of a new campaign to promote the value of lighting through marketing, education, communications, advocacy, and leadership. "Most people view lighting as a commodity," said Dr. Rea. "They purchase lighting products, but don't understand the true value of lighting, including its ability to affect our health, comfort, productivity, and even energy savings."

Speakers at the symposium will include internationally renowned designer William McDonough; The Wharton School's Paul Schoemaker; light-emitting diode (LED) pioneer Shuji Nakamura; and Light & Health innovators, Dr. Alfred Lewy and Dr. Robert White. The symposium will culminate with an evening dinner and celebration in the historic Saratoga Automobile Museum featuring NASA astronaut Nancy Currie. Dr. Currie has flown on four space shuttle missions and was part of the first International Space Station assembly mission.

What:  Bridges in Light Symposium
When:  Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2003
Where:  Hall of Springs, Saratoga Springs, NY

A special advisory council, made up of leaders from public and private sectors, is spearheading the drive. Council members include:

  • Zia Eftekhar, President of Lightolier, Director & VP of the Genlyte Group
  • Kathleen Hogan, Director of Climate Protection Partnership Division of US EPA
  • Kerry Kuhlman, President and Chief Operating Officer of Western Mass. Electric Co.
  • Henny Peters, Executive VP & General Manager of General Lighting at Osram Sylvania
  • Govi Rao, VP of Business Creation at Philips Lighting
  • Mark Rea, Director of the Lighting Research Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • JF Simard, President & General Manager of Lumec, Inc.
  • Peter Smith, Acting President of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)

For more information or to register, call the LRC at 518-687-7100 and ask for Patricia Rizzo. Visit the symposium's web site at

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 solid-state lighting, light and health, transportation lighting and safety, energy efficiency, and plant pathology. 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. With 35 full-time faculty and staff, 15 graduate students, and a 30,000 sq. ft. laboratory space, the LRC is the largest university-based lighting research and education organization in the world.

About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1824, is America's first technological research university. The university offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in engineering; the sciences; information technology and web sciences; architecture; management; and the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Rensselaer faculty advance research in a wide range of fields, with an emphasis on biotechnology, nanotechnology, computational science and engineering, data science, and the media arts and technology. The Institute has an established record of success in the transfer of technology from the laboratory to the marketplace, fulfilling its founding mission of applying science "to the common purposes of life."