Category Archives: Optics

Physics demonstrations: The Phantom Lightbulb

Some of the most spectacular physics demonstrations rely on surprisingly simple science.  Throughout history, for instance, very simple optics has been used to great effect to terrify and amaze audiences (see, for instance, Robertson’s Phantasmagoria).  I recently came across such … Continue reading

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“How the Ray Gun Got Its Zap,” by Stephen Wilk (Updated)

There are a lots of popular science books out there, but a relatively small fraction of those books are related to physics.  And of those popsci books related to physics, there are only a small fraction that discuss optics.*  And … Continue reading

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Communication via vortices?

This is the second in a series of posts about the upcoming OSA Frontiers in Optics meeting in Orlando.  This post covers research related to the presentation FM3F.1: Alan E. Willner, Multiplexing Information-Carrying Orthogonal Beams using Orbital Angular Momentum States.  To be (hopefully) cross-posted … Continue reading

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1842: Jean-Daniel Colladon guides light with water

Big technological advances often start with very humble beginnings.  If you’re reading this post on the internet right now, it is almost certain that the information has come to you at some point in the journey in the form of … Continue reading

Posted in History of science, Optics, Physics demos | 4 Comments

Supersymmetry in optics?

This is the first in a series of posts about the upcoming OSA Frontiers in Optics meeting in Orlando.  This post covers research related to the presentation FM4C.5: Mohammad-Ali Miri; Matthias Heinrich; Demetrios N. Christodoulides, SUSY-generated complex optical potentials with real-valued spectra. … Continue reading

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Simple fun with polarizers!

There is a lot of interesting optics going on around us every day that we are often unaware of!  Some of these can be investigated with very simple and inexpensive tools, if one knows what to look for.  For instance: … Continue reading

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Hiding from time? New design of a “temporal cloak” makes waves

Is it possible to make something invisible in time as well as in space?  It is a fascinating question, a provocative question, a mind-boggling question… wait… what exactly does it mean to “make something invisible in time?” We’ll get to … Continue reading

Posted in Invisibility, Optics | 2 Comments