How the Ray Gun Got Its Zap: Odd Excursions into Optics
Stephen R. Wilk
Oxford University Press, 2013; $34.95 (hardcover).
This interesting book is a collection of 45 essays originally published in Optics & Photonics News and Spectrograph. The expanded and updated essays are classified into three categories: history, “weird” science and pop culture. Optics might be an enabling science, but it occupies a special and quirky place in the popular imagination and in history. This wonderfully readable collection delves deep into this, with topics ranging from edible lasers, popular misconceptions in optics, retroreflectors, Young’s other experiment on the wave nature of light (no, not the double slit) and many more. I certainly learned a lot about our fascinating field, and was delightfully amused. You will be, too!
Review by Vasudevan Lakshminarayanan, professor of optometry, physics and electrical and computer engineering, University of Waterloo, Canada.
The opinions expressed in the book review section are those of the reviewer and do not necessarily reflect those of OPN or OSA.