Facets of Light Review

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FACETS OF LIGHT Colors, Images, and Things That Glow in the Dark, K. C. Cole, Exploratorium San Francisco, CA, 1980. 107 pp.

This is not an easy book to find, but it is worth the effort in tracking it down. Part of the problem is that the Exploratorium, founded by Robert Oppenheimer, has some problems with the US Government, and doesn’t believe in ISBN numbers.

The book is basically a catalog of the optical exhibits at the Exploratorium, so it doesn’t read like a normal textbook. It’s hard to know 25+ years later if any or most of these exhibits still exist, but having some familiarity with optics will help flesh them out in the mind’s eye.

As an added bonus there was a packet of materials glued in the back cover. A diffraction grating, 4 colors of gels, and a couple of pieces of Polaroid enabled the reader to explore in their own pad the facets of light.

K. C. has written a number of other science books, also worth reading. A companion to this volume is Vision: In the Eye of the Beholder, also an Exploratorium Publication.

I couldn’t find the list price of the book, but I believe it was under $10 when new. Use this a guideline when looking for copies on-line, because I have seen it at extortionate prices.

-Ed Wesly