In a series of 45 short and engaging essays, Fred Dylla interweaves his own personal journey through science, scientific publishing and scientific leadership with marvelous stories that touch on the history of science, scientific personalities, teaching, politics and even art. Dylla came up through the scientific ranks as a plasma physics researcher, was associate director of the Jefferson Lab, and finally became the executive director and CEO of the American Institute of Physics. Dylla is no stranger to optical science, and he chronicles his efforts in laser building in two essays—one describes his (successful) efforts to build a ruby laser starting in 1963 when he was 13 years old, and the other describes his (successful) efforts in building a kilowatt-class free electron laser at the Jefferson Lab, from 1996 to 1999. 

All of the essays are thoughtful and fun to read. Anyone interested in science will find them interesting and accessible.

Review by Michael Duncan, OSA Fellow and Senior Science Advisor at The Optical Society.

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