You might have seen Nathalie on episode 324 of the Get A Grip On Lighting podcast. We thought Nathalie’s commitment to good, responsible lighting made her a natural fit for this podcast as well. Nathalie pushes back on some of the ideas that have been talked about on Restoring Darkness.She is all for dark sky preserves, but she doesn’t expect to see a lot of stars from New York City. And as she points out, even if all the lights were out, the pollution and particulates in the air would probably still prevent you from seeing the night sky. Nathalie even inspired Michael to rethink some of his views. Nathalie Rozot, MIES, is the founder of PhoScope, a think tank on light. She is a New York-based phototect and the recipient of many prestigious awards, grants, fellowships and sponsorships, including a 2021 WIL Award for the global solar lighting initiative Light Reach. She has a strong track record of contributions to social and critical issues in lighting and to lighting and design education. These include international keynote presentations, speaking engagements and publications, as well as a part-time professorship at The New School, former engagements as senior thesis faculty in lighting design Masters programs, senior guest lecturer in landscape architecture Masters programs in Versailles and Lille, and education columnist for the IES’s publication LD+A.
If light is in a simulation, how does it know what is reality? Okay, obviously light isn’t self-aware. But Dr. Morrell and his team at University of Exeter in the U.K. are creating computational models that predict the characteristics of artificial light at night. These models can show everything from how street lights will affect animals, plants, and humans. It’ll show what the glare will be like on a particular road. But most importantly, it can demonstrate how to improve the lighting before spending one pound or dollar on a light fixture. Dr. Morrell is a postdoc researcher working between the Environment and Sustainability Institute and the Astrophysics group at the University of Exeter. He received his PhD in astrophysics from Exeter in 2020, where he researched techniques for measuring the properties of stars. Since then, he has been working on combining measurement techniques with computational models to predict the characteristics of artificial light at night at and just above ground level, in locations and at scales that humans and animals experience it. He is working to develop quantitative models to better predict the ecological impacts of our rapidly evolving urban lightscapes.
Connect with Dr. Morrell:
Dr. Morrell on Twitter
Mastodon – @email@example.com
Personal website: https://sammorrell.co.uk/
Project website: https://www.exeter.ac.uk/research/esi/research/projects/artificial-light/
Peter comes to us from Casambi, so naturally this one is all about controls. Now don’t glaze over all you astronomers and astrotourists, this is important. This is how we get to restore our night sky and still have the light at night that we need. Peter tells Michael and Mark that he has been involved in a project where a developer actually WANTED to give street light control to the end-user – the people with homes on the street. Mark likes the idea that people who need brighter light can turn up a parking lot lamp temporarily that will then return to its dim state which is good for the people who are sensitive to bright LED lights. Could controls help us get it under control? Prior to his 20 year career of leading teams and driving revenue in the lighting manufacturing and controls industry, Peter worked in software. It was this distinctive blend of experiences that fueled his passion for harnessing technology for innovative problem-solving—a passion he now brings to Casambi.
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More and more satellites are going to obstruct the view for astronomers, but as Jo Marchant points out, it will also affect the cultural, spiritual and psychological aspects for everyone when they don’t have a clear view of the stars. Jo explains, in her book, The Human Cosmos: Civilisation and the Stars, how it is evident from ancient cave drawings that early man used the stars to mark the passage of time. She argues that the invention of mechanical clocks meant that we no longer needed to look to the sun and stars to mark time. So take off your watch, put away your phone, cover your digital clock and just take in the majesty of the stars. Jo Marchant is a New York Times bestselling author and speaker. Her writing explores the nature of humanity and our universe, from the mind-body connection to the mysteries of past civilisations and the awesome power of the night sky.
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Diane has been to Mars. That is, she crewed the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah. It was there she turned her attention to Dark Sky advocacy. Diane is a lecturer in the Department of Physics at Carnegie Mellon University and the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh. Lucky for Pittsburgh, Diane is helping to guide the city’s street light conversion to LED by, among other things, convincing astronauts aboard the ISS to take photos of Pittsburgh before, during, and after the conversion. Diane Turnshek bonus fun fact: the Dung Beetle uses the light of the Milky way to roll its little ball of dung in a straight line. Diane has earned an International Dark Sky Association’s Defender Award. She has given over one hundred light pollution talks including one for TEDxPittsburgh, curated a series of space art galleries, and founded the Pennsylvania Chapter of the International Dark-Sky Association. In 2019, she edited the genre anthology Triangulation: Dark Skies with twenty-one starry night short stories. She has been interviewed by the New York Times, PBSNewsHour, NPR Morning Edition, Canada One Radio, Chinese Global Television Network and 50 more news outlets. She hosted a Dark Skies Conference at CMU and is co-running the 9th International Artificial Light at Night Conference in Calgary, Canada in August of 2023. Her research focuses on measuring the light of cities with drones, aircraft, satellites and astronauts aboard the ISS.
Connect with Diane:
Light pollution is harmful. Buddy Stefanoff is working on it – to the tune of about 5 years ahead of anybody else. Buddy and Crossroads LED are conscious of light trespass, color temperature, and shielding and so, have taken their design and manufacturing to the next level. Buddy demonstrates to Michael and special guest host, Greg Ehrich, some of the thermal dissipating and zero glare designs. He just might be the only one doing this. Buddy Stefanoff is an entrepreneur, small business owner and the Vice President of Engineering for Crossroads LED. With over 20 plus years of experience and expertise in the development of advanced, LED based luminaires and dark-sky certified lighting platforms, Mr. Stefanoff is the driving force behind the company’s product line which has received numerous patents and awards, including the International Dark-Sky Association’s prestigious “Best Design and Technical Innovation Award”. Under Mr. Stefanoff’s direction and leadership, Crossroads LED has become the undisputed worldwide leader in the design and production of LED luminaires that reduce light pollution and sky glow.
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“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” –Benjamin Franklin We think we’ve covered both bases in this episode. Jacqueline has written something worth reading, and The Lighting & Darkness Foundation and The Soft Lights Foundation are doing something worth writing about – or at least talking about. Michael and his new co-host, Mark Baker, chat with Jacqueline about our innate fear of the dark and it’s value to humanity and the environment. Jacqueline Yallop is the author of three novels and four works of creative non-fiction. She is currently working on a collection of short stories. She lives in West Wales where she teaches creative writing at Aberystwyth University. Jacqueline is an award-winning author of fiction and creative non-fiction, described as a ‘writer of rare fine judgement and delicacy’. Her latest book, Into the Dark, is out in November 2023 (London: Icon Books): it looks at darkness in all its forms, in science, literature, art, philosophy and history. Her novel, Obedience (London: Atlantic) was nominated for the Man Booker Prize. Big Pig Little Pig (London: Figtree) a memoir, was Radio 4 Book of the Week. Her work has been translated into several languages.
Connect with Jacqueline:
High Pressure Sodium might be the best street lights for our rods and cones, but LED is here to stay, so we’re going to have to figure it out. Noah talks with Michael and Mark about reports, studies, and solutions. He gives us some very interesting facts about cone cells in our eyes under yellow light, and why military bases and astronomers use red light to illuminate at night. But cities have gone and are going to blue light LED’s at night, and no one wants to admit to this mistake. Noah Sabatier is a photographer and lighting researcher that is dedicated to advocating for better outdoor lighting. Noah has spent the past 5 years living with a night shift sleep schedule, during this time he realized that the streetlights in his city were far from optimal – and recent changes had only made them worse. He has spent the past 2 years extensively reviewing scientific literature and technical documents alongside others advocating for better lighting. Noah is now working to raise awareness of common misconceptions that lead to bad lighting and the better practices needed to solve this problem.
See some of Noah’s work on The Soft Lights Foundation website: https://www.softlights.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/A-Multi-Field-Analysis-of-Street-Lighting-in-Grand-Rapids-Michigan.pdf
This is John Barentine’s second appearance and we still haven’t exhausted the conversation. How do we solve the light pollution problem? John has some ideas. Use reason and science and, as is John’s mission, give people the transformational experience of the night sky. How do we help that happen? By implementing the existing knowledge and technology of the lighting industry that knows how to make that a reality NOW! John Barentine is the Principal Consultant at Dark Sky Consulting, LLC, and was formerly the Director of Public Policy for the International Dark-Sky Association. He earned a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Texas at Austin, and previously held staff positions at the National Solar Observatory, Apache Point Observatory, and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Throughout his career, he has been involved in education and outreach efforts to help increase the public understanding of science. He is a member of the American Astronomical Society and the International Astronomical Union, and is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. The asteroid (14505) Barentine is named in his honor. His interests outside of astronomy and light pollution research include history, art and architecture, politics, law and current events.
Connect with John: https://twitter.com/JohnBarentine
Jin joins us from North Carolina where he is, along with earning his Ph.D, doing his best to reduce – or eliminate – bird-window collisions. In fact window collisions are mostly a daytime problem. The night time problem is light at night. This draws birds in and they then collide with any part of a building, or they die from exhaustion, confused and circling the light. Come on humanity, we can do better! Jin Bai is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in the Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology program at NCSU and studies the drivers of urban bird diversity. He has extensive experience designing, coordinating, and assisting citizen science projects, including organizing the Triangle Bird Count. Jin co-founded City Bird with a mission of documenting bird-window collisions and advocating for bird-friendly college campuses in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Additionally, Jin is a board member of the New Hope Audubon Society, a local non-profit chapter of the National Audubon Society covering Orange, Durham, and Chatham counties of NC, dedicated to local bird conservation.