The energy of light carries much of the world's information from one place to another. Surgeons, dentists, dermatologists, and other medical professionals use light in its various forms to heal or repair the body. Businesses and industries rely on optical scanners and “electric eye” detectors to monitor production quality, maintain security, and keep track of sales and inventory. Simple electric signs advertise products and services, and high-tech bundles of hair-thin glass fibers send voices and data around the world. All this and more is done with the power of light. Optics is one of the fundamental disciplines that has driven the technological and communications revolutions of the 20th century, and it literally defines what the world looks like today.
Optics, a new volume in the Science and Technology in Focus series, provides an overview of the theory of light as it stands today in language that students will find both interesting and easy to follow. Covering the history of optics as a science and as a technology, as well as showing the ways in which light has been put to work as a tool, this book discusses three of the great triumphs of optical physics in the 20th century in detail—the creation of laser light; the development of fiber optics and optical-based communication; and the progression toward optical computing, which is seen by many computer experts as the next great phase in information technology.
Chapters covered include:
- The Nature of Light and Vision
- Glimmers of Understanding
- Following the Light
- Light Surprises
- Mirrors and Lenses
- The Colors of Light
- How People See: Eye and Vision
- Telescopes and Microscopes
- Taking Snapshots of the World: Optics amd Electronics
- Invisible Electromagnetic Radiation
- Fiber Optics and Optical Communication
- Optical Computing
- Manufacturing Optical Instruments
- Optics in Scientific Research
- Optics in Medicine: Improving Surgical Procedures and Lifting Mood
- Optics in Art and Illusions
- The Future of Optics.
Black-and-white photographs and illustrations. Index. Appendix. Bibliography. Glossary. Further reading. Web sites. Tables.
About the Author(s)
Kyle Kirkland, Ph.D. earned a degree in neuroscience from the University of Pennsylvania, where he conducted research on mathematical models of the visual system. With a diverse background in biology, mathematics, and physics, he is currently a writer who covers a wide range of scientific fields.
Sean M. Grady is the author or coauthor of several books for young adults on science and technology, including Facts On File's Biohazards and new editions of Modern Medicines, Supercomputers, and Virtual Reality.