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Series: A Very Short Introduction
Author: Ian Walmsley
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Light enables us to see the world around us. Our sense of sight provides us with direct information about space and time, the physical arrangement of the world, and how it changes. This almost universal shared sensation of vision has led to a fascination with the nature and properties of light across the ages. But the light we see is just a small part of the whole spectrum of electromagnetic radiation, ranging from radio waves to gamma rays. In this Very Short Introduction Ian Walmsley discusses early attempts to explain light, and the development of apparently opposing particulate and wave theories by scientists such as Isaac Newton and Christiaan Huygens. He shows how light was recognized as an electromagnetic wave in the 19th century, and the development of the quantum mechanics view of wave-particle duality in the 20th century. He also describes the many applications of light, domestic and scientific, such as microwaves, DVDs, and lasers. We now use the whole range of electromagnetic radiation to peer both into the human body and deep into space. Turning to the future of optics, Walmsley concludes by looking at some of the most exciting new developments using quantum light sources in communications and computing.
Ahhhh, this started out SO good. Good old Ian was blabbing about Light and used an obviously technical term. He immediately went on to define that term in layman’s terms and I was sure this book was going to be great. He then proceeds to continue using the technical term and said terms increase more and more, just like in the other VSI books, and with no layman interpretation.
Then he spends the rest of the book talking about information technology and how it is using light. He does spend a chapter talking about Light as waves and particles but the tech side of things seemed to be his passion and so that is what he wrote about.
This series is produced by the Oxford University Press. As I was making my way through the book, I had to just stop for a minute and wonder what OUP was trying to accomplish with these. The only sane thing I could come up with was to soak the luckless jomokes who would shell out money for excrement like this. I was going to add to help puff up the publishing numbers of their more useless professors, but I don’t think most of these authors are professors at Oxford.
Insults aside, these do really border on the useless. The problem I have is that these are perfect, in terms of size and time, for what I want to commit to in terms of a non-fiction relationship. I’m that weak boyfriend who keeps crawling back even though I know Candy is out turning tricks once she knows she has me again. The OUP know they’re onto a good thing, so they’re not going to stop pimping out these books or trying to find new authors to degrade.
It really sounds horrible when I put it that way, doesn’t it? If I knew of some other “Introduction” type of series, I’d jump at it in a heartbeat because this series is crap.