How the Ray Gun Got Its Zap: Odd Excursions into Optics

Hardcover | September 18, 2013

byStephen R. Wilk

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How the Ray Gun Got Its Zap is a collection of essays that discusses odd and unusual topics in optics. Though optics is a fairly specialized branch of physics, this book extracts from the discipline topics that are particularly interesting, mysterious, culturally relevant, or accessible. Theessays all first appeared, in abbreviated form, in Optics and Photonics News and in The Spectrograph; the author has updated and expanded upon each of them for this book. The book is divided into three thematic sections: History, Weird Science, and Pop Culture. Chapters will discuss surprising uses of optics in classics and early astronomy; explain why we think of the sun as yellow when it is actually white; present how the laser is used in popular film; and profilethe eccentric scientists who contributed to optics. The essays are short and entertaining, and can be read in any order. The book should appeal to general audiences interested in optics or physics more generally, as well as members of the scientific community who are curious about opticsphenomena.

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How the Ray Gun Got Its Zap is a collection of essays that discusses odd and unusual topics in optics. Though optics is a fairly specialized branch of physics, this book extracts from the discipline topics that are particularly interesting, mysterious, culturally relevant, or accessible. Theessays all first appeared, in abbreviated for...

Stephen Wilk is a contributing editor for the Optical Society of America and the author of Medusa: Solving the Mystery of the Gorgon (OUP; 2000). He holds a Ph.D. in Physics and has worked on Laser Propulsion and High Energy Lasers at Textron and MIT's Lincoln Labs, and has designed and built optical apparatus at Optikos Corporation, C...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:September 18, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199948011

ISBN - 13:9780199948017

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Table of Contents

IntroductionI. History1. Ancient Optics - Magnification Without Lenses2. The Solar Weapon of Archimedes3. Claudius Ptolemy's Law of Refraction4. Antonio de Ulloa's Mystery5. The Miracle of St. Gascoigne6. Rays of the Sun7. Roy G. Biv8. George Christoph Lichtenberg9. Hopkinson's Silk Handkerchief10. First Light - Thomas Melville and the Beginnings of Spectroscopy11. Mediocrity and Illumination12. Even If You Can't Draw a Straight Line13. A Sea Change14. Thomas Pearsall and the Ultraviolet15. If at First You Don't Succeed16. More than a Burner17. Apply Light Pressure18. Sound Movies, the World's Fair, and Stellar Spectroscopy19. Deja vu20. The Magic Lantern of Omar KhayyamII. Weird Science21. The Yellow Sun Paradox22. Once in a Blue Moon23. Chromatic Dispersions24. The Eye in the Spiral25. Retroreflectors26. Yes, I was Right! It is Obvious!27. Edible Lasers28. Pyrotechnic Lasers29. Defunct Lasers30. The Phantom Laser31. The Case of the Oily Mirrors; A Locked Room mystery32. Pinhole Glasses33. UndulationsIII. Pop Culture34. This is Your Cat on Lasers35. Dord36. Zap!37. Mystic Cameras38. Playing With Light39. I Must Find That Tractor Beam40. The Rise and Fall and Rise of the Starbow41. Diamonds in the Dark42. A Popular History of the Laser43. Pop Culture Errors in Optics44. Pop Spectrum45. The TelephoneAfterword