Closing Out the UNESCO International Year of Light

Between being the centenary of general relativity, the 110th anniversary of special relativity, and the 150th anniversary of the introduction of Maxwell’s equations, it is not at all surprising that UNESCO designated 2015 as the International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies. (For more, have a look at the IYL 2015 blog and the SPIE IYL website.) To mark the passing of this year, here is a collection of relevant articles.

The American Physical Society has highlighted a collection of groundbreaking articles on the subject from the pages of Physical Review.

PhysicsWorld has posted a list of its top 10 articles on light. That site also has an article and video about how to produce a single photon.

Here’s a quick article about the history of Maxwell’s equations as a first step on the path to unification. And another post at the wonderful Starts With a Bang blog treads the same ground.

PhysicsBuzz has a lovely article about visualizing the circular polarization of light.

Chad Orzel has an article about how the anti-bunching effect in light serves as evidence for the existence of photons, as well as a more general article on the body of evidence for the existence of photons. I came across both of these by way of Chad’s article at Forbes, “Physics: Complicating Everything Since The 1600’s.”

Brian Koberlein blogs about the latest experimental tests of the constancy of the speed of light in a vacuum, as does Phys.org. On that note, Nova has an article about the history of experimental efforts to pin down the speed of light. Also, this article discusses efforts to both measure the speed of light, as well as the experimental verification that light does not obey Galilean relativity.

In other news, the underlying premise of the quantum Hall effect has been extended from electrons to light.

The Bad Astronomer himself, Phil Plait, has a Crash Course Astronomy video on the topic of light.

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About Glen Mark Martin

MCSE-Messaging. Exchange Administrator at the University of Texas at Austin. Unrepentant armchair physicist.
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