Editor’s note: This book is a reprinted, revised and updated edition of Seeing the Light: Optics in Nature, Photography, Color, Vision, and Holography, copyright ©1986 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

This is a gorgeous and encyclopedic volume covering everything optics-related, with the added benefit of using only “light” mathematics (no advanced math required). Topic entries are grouped into chapters, such as fundamental properties, optical devices and instruments, or anatomy and physiology. Some chapters include sections that probe the topics in more depth, and all conclude with a brief summary with highlighted key terms covered by the chapter. More mathematical entries are relegated to the end of the book for the interested reader, leaving main entries that are fun and easy to read for a general audience. Some entries also include fun and easy experiments.

As expected in a book on seeing, illustrations and charts abound. Surprisingly, most are black and white, and there are about twenty pages of a color insert – which is not printed on glossy paper, so the color figures look rather hazy. Each chapter includes an extensive set of problems, but such a comprehensive book could only be used as a textbook in a fast-paced multi-semester course. Thankfully, an index is also included, saving the reader the trouble of looking up terms in the lengthy table of contents. A pleasure to browse, this book would work well as a reference, and, with the caveat above, even as a textbook.

Review by Bogdan Hoanca, a professor of management information systems at the University of Alaska Anchorage, USA.

The opinions expressed in the book review section are those of the reviewer and do not necessarily reflect those of OPN or OSA.