Light begins at Stonehenge, where crowds cheer a solstice sunrise. After sampling myths explaining First Light, the story moves on to early philosophers' queries, then through the centuries, from Buddhist temples to Biblical scripture, when light was the soul of the divine.
Battling darkness and despair, Gothic architects crafted radiant cathedrals while Dante dreamed a 'heaven of pure light.' Later, following Leonardo's advice, Renaissance artists learned to capture light on canvas. During the Scientific Revolution, Galileo gathered light in his telescope, Descartes measured the rainbow, and Newton used prisms to solidify the science of optics. But even after Newton, light was an enigma.
Particle or wave? Did it flow through an invisible 'ether'? Through the age of Edison and into the age of lasers, Light reveals how light sparked new wonders - relativity, quantum electrodynamics, fiber optics, and more. Although lasers now perform everyday miracles, light retains its eternal allure. "For the rest of my life," Einstein said, "I will reflect on what light is." Light explores and celebrates such curiosity.
"A sweeping cultural and scientific history of our understanding of light.... With his trademark good storytelling and wide reading, Watson takes us on a delightful journey." (Alan Lightman, The Washington Post)
"Watson's touch is lyrical and deft.... [Light] is an eye-catching display, reflecting and refracting like a gemstone." (Nature)
"Bruce Watson's new book...has the buoyant tone of a writer who is having fun - and who is able to convey that sense of excitement and discovery to the reader. Light, the phenomenon, has fascinated people for millennia. Light, the book, will fascinate them now." (Charles C. Mann, author of the New York Times best sellers 1491 and 1493)
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GREAT BOOK - UNTIL THE SURPRISE ATHEIST EPILOGUE
A solid summary of the history and science of light. An enjoyable book. However, he somehow finds it necessary to add an epilogue condemning near death experiences. Without the slightest supporting argument or evidence he states that all near death books are fakes looking for quick money. What this has to do with the history and science of light is beyond me. Please leave the blind ideological stuff at home! Totally spoiled an otherwise well written book.