Light (3rd edition)

Light (3rd edition)

tool and studies of small molecule dynamics. Then a new technique, named laser spatial saturation spectroscopy, for measuring gaseous diffusion and dy...

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tool and studies of small molecule dynamics. Then a new technique, named laser spatial saturation spectroscopy, for measuring gaseous diffusion and dynamic friction coefficients is described. Finally there is a description of the optical spectroscopy of new laser glasses as measured at the computer-operated optical spectroscopy laboratory at the Lawrence Livermore laboratory in California. Taken as a whole the papers in this volume give an up-to-date picture of the types of spectroscopy which are the subject of current research and are finding new uses. The proceedings may be read with advantage by those who seek solutions to problems for which conventional spectroscopy is unsuited and with interest by workers in associated fields. There is both an author and a subject index. H. G. Jerrard

Light (3rd Edition) R. W. Ditchburn Academic Press, 1976. Hard cover: pp 796, E19.50. Soft cover: Volume 1, pp 504, X6.80; Volume 2, pp 3 12. 26.80 1 bought my first copy of ‘Light’ a long time ago from the second-hand bookshop of the Students Union at Reading University for the princely sum of ten shillings! Over the years this book has been a constant friend and source of reference. While I was still an undergraduate Professor Ditchburn officially retired! How pleased 1 am that this sprightly, energetic, white-haired man carried on as Emeritus Professor to run a research group and now produce a further up-dated edition of his book. In two paperback volumes each priced at L6.80, I hope this book is within the financial bounds of the many students who would benefit from it. It is also available as a single volume hard back version. Over the course of this century understanding of light has progressed from the state where a single theory ~ the electromagnetic theory - seemed capable of describing all the experimental results through the transition period, when wave theory and quantum theory were each successful in their own field but apparently mutually irreconcilable, to the present where Ditchburn gives a logical single theory of light in which quantum theory appears as a natural development of wave theory. Volume 1 deals mainly with the basic understanding of the principles of physical optics,

including chapters on interference, diffraction, polarized light and their application to modern optical instruments, and to certain kinds of measurement and research. Wave theory is treated in an easily readable fashion; the concept of a wave-group being stressed at an early stage to facilitate progression to quantum mechanical treatments later. Using a basis of geometrical optics many standard optical instruments are described including. for example, light conduits, fibre optics and holography. Lasers are also introduced by way of understanding an amplifying medium in a resonant cavity. A praiseworthy modification since my early edition is that all the electromagnetic theory of light, presented in three comprehensive chapters of Volume 2, has been rewritten in mks units. Professor Ditchburn presents a clear definition and explanation of all important concepts and gives a coherent presentation of the theory of reflection and refraction, and of absorption and dispersion. Many of the experiments, eg photoelectric effect, line spectra of atoms. the Compton effect, whose results do not fit into the classical wave theory of the interaction of radiation and matter are discussed. Wave-particle duality concepts are presented and quantum theory developed from the simplest situations of a ‘particle in a box’, through the harmonic oscillator, to a mathematical appendix discussing such effects as scattering and transition probabilities. On the basis of this framework Ditchburn discusses in more detail some topics of modern physics briefly introduced in Volume 1. For example, the theory of laser action following from the quantum theory of stimulated emission, applications of lasers such as picosecond pulses of light and non-linear optics, waveguide theory of fibre optics. While making no attempt to provide in-depth treatments of these topics Ditchburn creates a relation in the central ideas of modern optics which, for new workers in the field, provides a useful overview and a stepping stone towards mastery of the subject. A final chapter provides a useful and interesting summary of the limitation of optical instruments due to noise, fluctuations etc and ends with an analysis of the transmission of information through an optical system, photographic reproduction and a television system. I must praise one of the grand-old men of British science for the energy and enthusiasm needed to create this new revised edition. I wish him success with this book and hope that many students will find in it a friend as good as its predecessor was to me. R. B. Dennis

NEW BOOKS Books listed below are those recently editorial


or those mentioned

from the publishers.

Their inclusion

them from being reviewed

Applications processing

received by the

in advance information here does not prevent

in a later issue.

of holography

Lasers in chemistry Edited by M. A. West Elsevier, 1977, pp 437. $69.50, Dfl. 170.00

and optical data The elements of wave propagation

Edited by E. Marom, A. A. Friesem, E. Wiener-Avnear

6. J. Uscinski

Pergamon Press, 1977, pp 740 $50.00, c27.00

McGraw, 1977, pp 153, E13.35



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