A History of Interferometry and the Scientists Who Tamed Light

Oxford University Press (Coming Soon in 2023)

Chapter Contents

1. Thomas Young Polymath

            The Law of Interference

2. The Fresnel Connection

            Particles versus Waves

3. At Light Speed

            The Birth of Interferometry

4. After the Gold Rush

            The Trials of Albert Michelson

5. Stellar Interference

            Measuring the Stars

6. Across the Universe

            Gravitational Waves, Black Holes and the Search for Exoplanets

7. Two Faces of Microscopy

            Diffraction and Interference

8. Holographic Dreams of Princess Leia

            Crossing Beams

9. Photon Interference

            The Beginnings of Quantum Communication

10. The Quantum Advantage

            Interferometric Computing

About the Book:

Interference: A History of Interferometry and the Scientists who Tamed Light explores the history and science of optical interference.  From the colors of soap bubbles to the detection of gravity waves at LIGO, from holographic displays to the optical encryption of quantum information—interference resides inside a bewilderingly broad range of phenomena in physics. 

Interference tells how superposition and interference helped shape modern physics.  The chapters alternate between historical perspectives and explanations of physical principles.  The chapters introduce and explain the history and physics of atom optics, stellar interferometers, gravitational wave detectors, projection holograms, and the search for exoplanets, among others.

The last decade has seen several unique interferometric milestones: 1) the first exoplanet detection using interferometric telescopes, 2) the first image of a black hole using long-baseline interferometry, 3) the first detection of gravitational waves, and 4) the first demonstration of quantum computational advantage.  This list of achievements in such a short time points to the fertile and active field of interferometric science for which this book will provide a convenient and up-to-date guide for a wide audience.