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Explaining the Nature of Photons to Lay Persons

Posted on 2007-03-23 as a part of the Photonics Spotlight (available as e-mail newsletter!)

Permanent link: https://www.rp-photonics.com/spotlight_2007_03_23.html

Author: , RP Photonics Consulting GmbH

Abstract: This article recommends a fascinating book by the Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman, in which he explains the quantum nature of light - in fact, quantum electrodynamics - in a fascinating way.

Dr. Rüdiger Paschotta

Ref.: Richard P. Feynman, “QED. The strange theory of light and matter”, Princeton Science Library, ISBN 0-691-02417-0

Normally, it should be considered a hopeless attempt to explain the basics of quantum electrodynamics (QED) to lay persons. The Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman once took this challenge and mastered it in a way which is amazing indeed. It may be irritating at first how Feynman takes this deductive approach, first describing a photon model for light which has to appear rather strange to the beginner. Then, however, he demonstrates in a fascinating way how a variety of surprising phenomena can be deducted from that model. Of course, anyone dealing more closely with photonics, e.g. studying it at University level, will also have a lot of pleasure from reading this book, which demonstrates very nicely how fascinating physics can be.


This article is a posting of the Photonics Spotlight, authored by Dr. Rüdiger Paschotta. You may link to this page and cite it, because its location is permanent. See also the RP Photonics Encyclopedia.

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