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The Photonics Spotlight

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: Dr. Rüdiger Paschotta, 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 Encyclopedia of Laser Physics and Technology.

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