Empire of Light: A History of Discovery in Science and Art (1998)

Empire of Light: A History of Discovery in Science and Art
View larger
  • Status: Final Book
Empire of Light:
A History of Discovery in Science and Art
(1998)
Overview
Contractual obligations prohibit us from offering a free PDF of this title published under the Joseph Henry Press imprint of the National Academies Press. The views expressed in this book are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Academies.

Authors

Description

In Empire of Light, Sidney Perkowitz combines the expertise of a physicist with the vision of an art connoisseur and the skill of an accomplished writer to offer a unique view of the most fundamental feature of the universe: light.

Empire of Light discusses the nature of light, how the eye sees, and how our understanding of these phenomena have emerged over the ages, including the role of light in the development of quantum physics. The author examines the making of electrical light and its integration into commerce, telecommunications, entertainment, medicine, warfare, and every other aspect of our daily lives. And he presents the role of light in the search for the beginning and the end of the universe, as astronomers with their instruments penetrate ever deeper into the sky.

Visible light spans the spectrum between infrared and ultraviolet, but this book reaches across many other spectra as well--from the cave paintings at Lascaux to Mark Rothko's stark blocks of color in today's art museums, from Plato's speculation that the eye sends out rays to Ramon y Cajal's discovery that vision actually works in the opposite way, from Tycho Brahe's elegant antetelescope measurements of planet positions to the Hubble telescope's exquisite sensitivity to light from billions of light years away.

What are the biological and neurological processes of perceiving visible light? How does a person typically scan a scene? Do you see red or blue the same way I do? What are our physiological reactions and emotional responses to light? Perkowitz explores these and many other fascinating questions, drawing together the experiences, achievements, and perspectives of a diverse cast of characters, including Galileo, Einstein, Newton, Van Gogh, and Edison.

Empire of Light is written so that lay readers will readily grasp the scientific principles and science professionals will readily appreciate the human experience. It will impart new wonder to the daily experience of light in our world.

Sidney Perkowitz is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Physics at Emory University. His work has appeared in national publications such as The Sciences, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The American Prospect, and Technology Review.

Topics

  • Explore Science
  • Biography and Autobiography — Biographies

Publication Info

248 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2

Table of Contents

skim chapter
Related Resources
Research Tools

Suggested Citation

National Research Council. Empire of Light: A History of Discovery in Science and Art. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 1998.

Import this citation to:

Copyright Information

The National Academies Press (NAP) has partnered with Copyright Clearance Center's Rightslink service to offer you a variety of options for reusing NAP content. Through Rightslink, you may request permission to reprint NAP content in another publication, course pack, secure website, or other media. Rightslink allows you to instantly obtain permission, pay related fees, and print a license directly from the NAP website. The complete terms and conditions of your reuse license can be found in the license agreement that will be made available to you during the online order process. To request permission through Rightslink you are required to create an account by filling out a simple online form. The following list describes license reuses offered by the National Academies Press (NAP) through Rightslink:

  • Republish text, tables, figures, or images in print
  • Post on a secure Intranet/Extranet website
  • Use in a PowerPoint Presentation
  • Distribute via CD-ROM
  • Photocopy

Click here to obtain permission for the above reuses. If you have questions or comments concerning the Rightslink service, please contact:

Rightslink Customer Care
Tel (toll free): 877/622-5543
Tel: 978/777-9929
E-mail: customercare@copyright.com
Web: http://www.rightslink.com

To request permission to distribute a PDF, please contact our Customer Service Department at 800-624-6242 for pricing.

To request permission to translate a book published by the National Academies Press or its imprint, the Joseph Henry Press, please click here to view more information.

Related Books more