Category Archives: Optics

Taylor sees the (feeble) light (1909)

Most people, even non-scientists, are aware these days of the notion that light acts sometimes like a wave, sometimes like a particle, depending on the circumstances. This wave-particle duality is a fundamental aspect of nature, applying to all elementary particles, … Continue reading

Posted in History of science, Optics, Physics | Leave a comment

RIP Emil Wolf, 1922-2018

On Saturday morning, my PhD advisor and friend Professor Emil Wolf passed away at the age of 95.  He was a singularly gifted scientist as well as an extraordinarily kind and wise person.  It is fair to say that I … Continue reading

Posted in Optics, Personal | 7 Comments

Optics in the solar eclipse!

Just a very short note: I’m on the road, aiming to be in the path of totality of the solar eclipse hitting tomorrow.  One of the things I’m going to be looking at, in addition to the ghostly hidden sun, … Continue reading

Posted in Optics, Physics | Leave a comment

Dr. SkySkull in Amsterdam: Optics in the Rijksmuseum

The lower level of the Rijksmuseum, an area relatively few time-strapped visitors manage to visit, is reserved for more practical forms of art: musical instruments, ceramics, ship figureheads, weapons, and the like.  I explored this whole area on my recent … Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment, History of science, Optics, Travel | 2 Comments

What is quantum entanglement? Part 5: Making it happen

This is part 5 in a lengthy series of posts attempting to explain the idea of quantum entanglement to a non-physics audience.  Part 1 can be read here,  Part 2 can be read here, Part 3 here, and Part 4 here. So … Continue reading

Posted in Optics, Physics | 3 Comments

Optics basics: reflection

It’s been some 5 years since I wrote my last “Optics basics” post!  The goal of that series of posts was to introduce some of the most fundamental concepts in optics in a non-technical way, in part so I wouldn’t … Continue reading

Posted in Optics basics | 4 Comments

Pepper’s last optical illusion: metempsychosis

A month ago, I shared the lengthy, odd and sometimes dramatic history of the illusion commonly known as “Pepper’s ghost,” which I believe is more properly called the “Pepper-Dircks ghost.”  In researching this post, I uncovered a wealth of fascinating … Continue reading

Posted in History of science, Optics | 1 Comment