Books et al.History of Optics

Seeing optics in a new light

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Science  01 May 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6234, pp. 509
DOI: 10.1126/science.aab2222

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The transition from "ancient" to "modern" theories of light occurred, in part, as a result of the publication of Johannes Kepler's theory of retinal image formation in 1604, which demonstrated that images are projected by the eye's lens onto the retina. In From Sight to Light, historian A. Mark Smith places Kepler's theory in broad historical context, arguing that this advance represented a radical break from tradition, as opposed to an incremental advance in a long-evolving field. Reviewer Christopher Dainty welcomes this authoritative account of the evolution of our understanding of light and optics.