Let There Be Light The Story of Light from Atoms to Galaxies

ISBN-10: 1848167598
ISBN-13: 9781848167599
Edition: 2nd 2012 (Revised)
List price: $68.00 Buy it from $52.27
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Description: This book is the first of its kind devoted to the key role played by light and electromagnetic radiation in the universe. Readers are introduced to philosophical hypotheses such as the economy, symmetry and the universality of natural laws, and are  More...

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Book details

List price: $68.00
Edition: 2nd
Copyright year: 2012
Publisher: Imperial College Press
Publication date: 1/25/2013
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 552
Size: 6.50" wide x 9.25" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.826
Language: English

This book is the first of its kind devoted to the key role played by light and electromagnetic radiation in the universe. Readers are introduced to philosophical hypotheses such as the economy, symmetry and the universality of natural laws, and are then guided to practical consequences such as the rules of geometrical optics and even Einstein's well-known but mysterious relationship, E = mc2. Most chapters feature a pen picture of the life and character of a relevant scientific figure. These 'Historical Interludes' include, among others, Galileo's conflicts with the Inquisition, Fourier's taunting of the guillotine, Neils Bohr and World War II, and the unique character of Richard Feynman.The second edition has been revised and made more accessible to the general reader. Whenever possible, the mathematical material of the first edition has been replaced by appropriate text to give a verbal account of the mystery of the phenomenon of light and how its understanding has developed from pre-historic to present times. the emphasis is on reading for interest and enjoyment; formulae or equations which underpin and reinforce the argument are presented in a form which does not interfere with the flow of the text.The book will be of interest to students and teachers, as well as general readers interested in physics.

Preface to the First Edition
Preface to the Second Edition
Acknowledgementsxiii
Introducing Light
The perception of light through the ages
Colours
Measuring the speed of light
The process of vision
The nature of light
The birth of quantum mechanics
Light as a Ray: Reflection
Fermat's principle
Mirrors
A historical interlude: Pierre de Fermat (1601-1665)
Light as a Ray: Refraction
Refraction
Lenses
Objects and images: converging lenses
Objects and images: diverging lenses
Lens combinations
The eye
Making visible what the eye cannot see
Combinations of lenses
A final note on Fermat's principle
Light from Afar - Astronomy
The earth
The moon
Sizes and distances
The planets
The Copernican revolution
After Copernicus
The solar system in perspective
A historical interlude: Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)
Light from the Past - Astrophysics
The birth of astrophysics
The methods of astrophysics
Other stars and their 'solar systems'
Reconstructing the past
The life and death of a star
A historical interlude: Isaac Newton (1642-1727)
Introducing Waves
Waves - the basic means of communication
The mathematics of a travelling wave
The superposition of waves
Forced oscillations and resonance
Natural frequencies of vibration and resonance
Diffraction - waves can bend around corners
The magic of sine and the simplicity of nature
A historical interlude: Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier (1768-1830)
Sound Waves
Sound and hearing
Sound as a tool
The superposition of sound waves
Sound intensity
Other sensations
Strings and pipes in music
The Doppler effect
A historical interlude: The sound barrier
Light as a Wave
Light as a wave
Wave properties which do not make reference to a medium
Specifically light
Is there a limit to what we can distinguish?
Other electromagnetic waves
Light from two sources
Thin films
Diffraction gratings
Other 'lights'
Coherence
Polarization
A historical interlude: Thomas Young (1773-1829)
Making Images
Creating images
Holography
There Was Electricity, There Was Magnetism, and Then There Was Light…
The mystery of 'action at a distance'
'Fields of force'
Magnetism
Electrodynamics
Getting electric charges to move with the help of magnetism
Maxwell's synthesis
Then there was light
A historical interlude: James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879)
'Atoms of Light' - The Birth of Quantum Theory
Emission of energy by radiation
Classical theories of blackbody radiation
Max Planck enters the scene
Planck's 'act of despair'
A historical interlude: Max Planck (1858-1947)
The Development of Quantum Mechanics
The development of quantum mechanics
Matrix mechanics
Order does matter
Wave mechanics
Generalized quantum mechanics
Quantum reality
A historical interlude: Niels Bohr (1885-1962)
Atoms of Light Acting as Particles
The photoelectric effect
The Compton effect - more evidence for the particle nature of light
A historical interlude: Robert A. Millikan (1868-1953)
Atoms of Light Behaving as Waves
Photons one at a time
Feynman's 'strange theory of the photon'
A historical interlude: Richard Feynman (1918-1988)
Relativity: Part 1: How It Began
Space and time
'Dogmatic rigidity'
Looking for the ether
Symmetry
The special theory of relativity
Pythagoras re-visited
The fourth dimension
A philosophical interlude
A historical interlude: Hendrik A. Lorentz (1853-1928)
Relativity: Part 2: Verifiable Predictions
Time dilation
Bringing energy into the picture
The steps from symmetry to nuclear energy
A historical interlude: Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
The Road to 'Heavy Light'
Making matter out of energy
A unified theory of weak and electromagnetic forces
Index
About the Authors

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