A Very Brief History of Light

From early attempts to understand the formation of the Sun and the solar system to the importance of sunlight in photosynthesis, efforts to understand the nature and the characteristics of light have revolutionized nearly every field of science. Light and light based technologies have played an important role in transforming our lives through scientific contributions spanned over thousands of years.

In the book “Optics in Our Time,” a vast collection of articles on various aspects of light is presented, along with its applications in the contemporary world at a popular or semi-popular level. This is a rare volume where the world experts have come together to present the developments in this important field of science in an almost pedagogical manner.

Given below is the introductory article contributed for the book by Dr. M. Suhail Zubairy. We thank him for giving us permission to reproduce it for EACPE.

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About the author: 

Dr. M. Suhail Zubairy is a University Distinguished Professor of Physics and the holder of the Munnerlyn-Heep Chair in Quantum Optics at the Texas A&M University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Rochester in 1978. He has made pioneering contributions in the fields of quantum computing, laser physics and quantum optics. Prof Zubairy has co-authored two books, one on Quantum Optics and the other on Quantum Computing Devices, and over 350 research papers on a wide variety of research problems relating to theoretical physics. His research has been widely recognised by the physics community and he has won many international awards including the Willis E. Lamb Award for Laser Science and Quantum Optics, Alexander von Humboldt Research Prize, the George H. W. Bush Award for Excellence in International Research, the Outstanding Physicist Award from the Organization of Islamic Countries, the Abdus Salam Prize in Physics, the International Khwarizmi Award from the President of Iran, and the Orders of Hilal-e-Imtiaz and Sitara-e-Imtiaz from the President of Pakistan. Prof. Zubairy is an elected Fellow of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences. He is also a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the Optical Society.

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