Synopses & Reviews
Watson (Freedom Summer) a frequent contributor to Smithsonian leads an engrossing tour of humans’ longtime fascination with and study of light. He bookends his narrative with accounts of his visits to Stonehenge for the summer solstice and Ireland’s Newgrange for the winter solstice. Between these brilliantly described personal experiences Watson traces scientific inquiry into the nature of light from the ancient Greeks including Empedocles and Euclid through scholars of the golden age of Islam such as Ibn al Haytham (aka Alhazen) to the more modern figures of Galileo Galilei Isaac Newton Albert Einstein and Richard Feynman. This isn’t just a book of science history; inventors such as photography pioneer Louis Daguerre and light bulb originator Thomas Edison take their places amongst the academics of light and Watson includes artists as well. Abbot Suger designer of the church at Saint Denis France receives his due along with the polymath Leonardo da Vinci painters Rembrandt van Rijn and J.M.W. Turner composer Joseph Haydn poet and artist William Blake and many others. Watson even includes an appendix on the light that some people see during near death experiences. Weaving his own journeys and experiments throughout the work Watson provides a panoramic view of human engagement with this most curiosity inducing phenomenon. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."