Introduction: From Chronobiology to Lighting

  • Maurizio RossiEmail author
Part of the Research for Development book series (REDE)


The 2017 Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology, awarded on the topic of circadian research, has reawakened the attention of researchers, designers and stakeholders to the theme of the relationship between lighting design and the human circadian cycle. In this introductory chapter we lay the foundations necessary for understanding the following chapters, also regarding the non-image forming (NIF) effects of light. We introduce the science known as chronobiology and the important impact that the research of the three 2017 Nobel prizes has had in this context. We introduce the historical development of the philosophical and scientific definition of light, up to the description used today in lighting design. Continuing the historical analysis, we introduce the theme of the impact of artificial lighting on human society and how electric light sources have evolved over the past 150 years. The theme of the relationship between artificial and natural light is introduced in relation to the profound change in the lifestyles of the last five generations following the industrial revolution. Finally, we follow the position of legislative bodies, regulators and international trade associations, with regard to the NIF effects and the environmental sustainability of the lighting systems.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratorio Luce, Department of DesignPolitecnico di MilanoMilanItaly

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