Irish Engineering student wins international award for study of effects of light on humans

Joseph Brennan, a third-year student of Electrical Services Engineering in DIT, has won first place in a prestigious international competition organised by The Society of Light and Lighting in London. Joseph received the 'Young Lighter of the Year' Award from Mr. Mark Burrows, Jnr., Vice President of the Institute of Lighting Engineers, during the Architectural, Retail and Commercial Lighting Show in London's Business Design Centre.

Joseph Brennan won the award for a paper he submitted entitled 'Effects of Light on Humans' in which he explored the way we react to both natural light and artificial light. With reference to recently published research, his paper went on to identify how an artificially illuminated work space can have an adverse effect on human health/productivity and how the use of modern technology can address the problem.

Mr. Tommy Nugent, lecturer in Electrical Services Engineering in DIT, described Joseph's achievement as extremely significant. 'This is a prestigious international award that is open to anybody under 30 years of age that wishes to compete. Thus the applicants are predominantly post graduate practitioners in the lighting industry. Joseph was an exception this year, being selected for the finals while still a student. For him to win the competition was therefore a fantastic personal achievement,' he said.

'Not only does it make him a highly attractive prospect for employment in the lighting industry but it also benefits all of the students on our Electrical Services Engineering programme. By producing graduates of Joseph's calibre it enhances the profile of the whole programme and its graduates. For Irish employers having internationally recognised achievers on their staff helps promotes their international reputation in foreign markets, where they are competing on an ever increasing scale,' Mr Nugent added.

Left to right, Thomas Nugent, Joseph Brennan and Dr. Veronica O'Dwyer.

The Society of Light and Lighting was established by the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) but its remit extends beyond the engineering aspect of lighting. Membership includes lighting designers, manufacturers, sales people, consultants, installers, facilities managers, ergonomists, interior designers, ophthalmologists, architects, physicists, entertainment lighting specialists; in fact anyone who has an interest in any aspect of light.

The Society of Light and Lighting is influential in developing standards for building regulations, health and safety legislation and on the development of lighting technology. With membership in 50 countries worldwide, news of Joseph's research and his award will reach a wide audience

Mr Nugent thanked Dr Veronica O'Dwyer from the Department of Optometry in DIT for her help with Joseph's work. 'Because of the subject matter of Joseph's submission, 'The effects of Light on Human Beings', it was necessary to have verification of the current status of opthalmic research. Dr. Veronica O'Dwyer, from the Department of Optometry was so generous with her time and expertise, and ensured that Joseph's research was up to date in his submission.'

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