Optical science and engineering affect almost every aspect of our lives. Millions of miles of optical fiber carry voice and data signals around the world. Lasers are used in surgery of the retina, kidneys, and heart. New high-efficiency light sources promise dramatic reductions in electricity consumption. Night-vision equipment and satellite surveillance are changing how wars are fought. Industry uses optical methods in everything from the production of computer chips to the construction of tunnels. Harnessing Light surveys this multitude of applications, as well as the status of the optics industry and of research and education in optics, and identifies actions that could enhance the field's contributions to society and facilitate its continued technical development.