Learn About Lighting

By Susan Bloom What you need to know:

  • IES offers Discover Lighting, a free online course about light and lighting
  • Five chapters cover history, science, light source, applications and sustainability
  • Ideal way for students and the layperson to learn about this important subject

Discover Lighting Online TutorialsInterested in a fun online tutorial that’s guaranteed to help you navigate the basics of lighting? Check out “Discover Lighting,” a five-chapter course offered by the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) that’s sure to fuel anyone’s fire for this fascinating and far-reaching field. Designed for students and novice professionals as a first look into the wonderful world of lighting, “Discover Lighting is a unique, user-friendly, and interactive approach to learning the history, language, and application of lighting,” confirms Pat McGillicuddy, Manager of Technology for the IES of North America.  IES, in existence for over 100 years, is the recognized technical authority on illumination.. “This fun, introductory online course offers an exciting opportunity to help a new generation of lighting users explore and appreciate the magic of lighting and all that it enables.” Laypeople begin their education in the Discover Lighting tutorial with a “Brief History of Lighting,” which examines lighting through the ages—from ancient approaches, oil lamps, and candles through to the advent of electric light by Thomas Edison in 1879 and the field’s many landmark developments since. The following chapter, entitled “The Science of Lighting,” discusses how humans physically perceive color and light and introduces students to such basic terms as lumens, watts, and efficacy, or lumens per watt. The third installment, “Electric Light Sources,” shares information on the 4-5 major lighting technologies currently in use—incandescent/halogen, fluorescent, high intensity discharge (HID), and Light emitting diodes (LED)—as well as luminaires (light fixtures), ballasts, lighting controls, and other key components of modern lighting systems. Following a discussion of the basics of visibility and light quantity in Chapter 4’s “Lighting Applications,” students receive an introduction to interior lighting techniques within popular residential, retail, and office settings, as well as an overview of outdoor lighting approaches for roadways, building exteriors and landscapes. The unique and comprehensive tutorial concludes with a timely chapter on “Sustainability in Lighting,” which discusses energy considerations, the importance of environmentally sensitive techniques such as daylighting, and the status of green building programs and standards. A quiz at the conclusion of the course allows students to test their knowledge of the lighting concepts presented and qualify for an IES CEU Certificate of Completion. To begin your own discovery process, click here and allow “Discover Lighting” to help shed light on the basics of this significant and historic field.

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