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ICFO and Cambridge University Press announce the release of 'The Wonders of Light'

June 19, 2015

  • ICFO and Cambridge University Press publish a book dedicated to discovering the amazing powers of light.

  • The launch of the book coincides with the celebration of the International Year of Light 2015 proclaimed by UNESCO.

  • Written by ICFO scientists Dr. Marta García-Matos and Prof. Lluís Torner, Fouding Director of the Institute, and Optical Society of America 2011 Leadership Award recipient, the book will raise awareness of the importance and impact of light in society.

  • In a very enjoyable, eye-catching design and understandable writing style, the book describes light as an enabling tool in areas as diverse as health, communications, security, environment, clean energies, and future quantum technologies, among many others.

ICFO- the Institute of Photonic Sciences and Cambridge University Press announce the launch of The Wonders of Light, a book that dives into the realm of photonics enabling the reader to see, learn and discover the amazing things that light is capable of accomplishing. The release of this book coincides with the celebration of 2015 International Year of Light proclaimed by UNESCO.

It is a highly visual book with a modern, eye-catching design, and with simple explanations of high-tech, advanced scientific concepts explained in a gentle, literary style. Its independent, standalone chapters can be read in any order.

The word may sound intuitive but, in general, most people do not know that photonics is related to light. And not everyone is aware that light has remarkable capabilities. Light is a tool to move, stick, cut, dye, smell, stamp, write, read, send information or to do almost anything you might imagine. Light provides the commodities and services which make our lives easier, being a primordial component of many of the technologies that shape our society today. Thanks to light, we are capable of understanding and learning more and more the intimate details of the world that surrounds us. For example, we can use light to see the smallest, watch the fastest, measure the softest, cool down to almost the coldest, warm up to almost the hottest ....

Written by ICFO scientists Dr. Marta García-Matos and Prof. Lluís Torner, founder and director of the institute, The Wonders of Light is aimed at showing how light-based technologies are ushering in solutions for some of the major challenges faced by humankind.

In search of advancing the very limits of knowledge in Photonics, namely the science and technology of harnessing light, Prof. Lluís Torner emphasizes that "light is fascinating by itself but also a truly amazing tool, employed by countless scientists to push the frontiers of many areas of science and innovation, areas that range from physics, chemistry, biology and medicine, to ecology, archaeology, architecture and city planning."

Dr. Marta García-Matos, physicist and member of the outreach team at ICFO with a vast experience in science communication, carries out several outreach projects aimed at bridging the science of light and society. In writing this book, she comments that "this book has been written and illustrated in equal proportions. Information comes in words as much as it does in the carefully thought-out drawings created with the invaluable contribution of Anna Jordà and Maria Rosa Birulés as well as more than 60 advisors that have helped to make this book possible - collaboration is the key word of this project."

In the words of Nobel Laureate Steven Chu, former USA Secretary of Energy in the Obama Administration and author of the book's preface, the authors have succeeded in creating "... a delightful smorgasbord that illustrates how light continues to redefine our daily lives ... and how it will help us transition to a sustainable world".

Quotes from Renowned Scientists

  • Philip Russell, President of The Optical Society (OSA) and Director at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light:

    "If you are looking for a book about science that, like a favorite piece of music, poem, or artwork, makes your skin tingle, this is it. A wonderful, multifaceted cascade of color, fascination, and art that, with perfect timing, elegantly introduces the astonishing things that scientists and engineers are doing with light."

  • John Dudley, Chairman of the IYL 2015 Steering Committee:

    "The Wonders of Light" provides a fantastic panorama of the many ways light impacts on our lives and the role light technologies will play in the development of future society. The authors are internationally renowned experts in science and science communication, and the book is written in a way that is scientifically accurate at the same time as being accessible to a broad audience. This is really a one-of-a-kind publication that is sure to have an enduring impact with a very wide appeal. Its publication in 2015 is timed perfectly with the International Year of Light."

About the Book

The book has been written by Dr. Marta García Matos and Prof. Lluís Torner, designed by bpdisseny - Anna Jordà and published by Cambridge University Press.

As of June 18th, the book may be purchased via the website, or at any online bookstore as well as major retail book stores.

Link to the trailer for the book:

ICFO-The Institute of Photonic Sciences

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