Most Popular Posts during 2015 I

We list the ten most popular posts published on the blog during 2015. We publish the first part of the list including the posts ranging from position 10 to 6.

10 – Light is Life by Vipul Rastogi (2,358 views)

We cannot imagine our life without light. From the first ray of Sun in the morning to the lamp in the night, light accompany us in all the activities. In modern life, three most important sources of light, which I think make major impact on life are the Sun, the light emitting diode (LED) and the laser. We always come across these sources in one way or the other.

Solar Panels in Colorado, US. Credits: Dennis Schroeder/NREL/Light Beyond the Bulb

Solar Panels in Colorado, US. Credits: Dennis Schroeder/NREL/Light Beyond the Bulb

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9 – James Clerk Maxwell: Man of Light by Basil Mahon (2,412 views)

Next time you turn on your TV, think of James Clerk Maxwell. In one of the greatest feats of human thought he predicted the electromagnetic waves that bring the signal from the transmitter to your set. He also provided the means of producing the coloured image on your screen by showing that any colour can be made by combining red, green, and blue light in the appropriate proportions.

He was born in 1831 into a distinguished Scottish family and went to a top school in Edinburgh before studying at both Edinburgh and Cambridge Universities. In an astonishing and short career (he died aged 48), Maxwell made groundbreaking discoveries in every branch of physics that he turned his hand to. But in the International Year of Light 2015 it is fitting that we celebrate in particular his discoveries about light: not only his electromagnetic theory, first published 150 years ago, but also his demonstration of the way we see colours.


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8 – Teleporting light by Félix Bussières (2,556 views)

When I was still a boy, maybe 7 or 8 years old, I looked in the mirror and pondered on what seems obvious at first: the reflection I saw changed as I moved around. I asked myself: how can the mirror deal with all these different reflections? Does it reflect one, then the other, or is it reflecting all of them simultaneously?

As far as I can remember, that is probably the very first physics question I asked myself. Not knowing what light and mirrors really are, I could not find the answer, and nobody in my entourage could either … but I did not forget about it.

I think that understanding what light is, and what we can do with it, has always been part of my motivation to follow one research direction or another. Light pervades us, it puts everything in touch, close or remote. It allows me to see my kids grow into little persons. It allows us to observe the universe as it was more than four billion years ago. I find this fascinating: light is a universal messenger.

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7 – James Clerk Maxwell, the man who changed the world forever II by Augusto Beléndez (2,809 views)

Maxwell left us contributions to colour theory, optics, Saturn’s rings, statics, dynamics, solids, instruments and statistical physics. However, his most important contributions were to electromagnetism. In 1856, he published On Faraday’s lines of force; in 1861, On physical lines of force. In these two articles he provided a mathematical explanation for Faraday’s ideas on electrical and magnetic phenomena depending on the distribution of lines of force in space, definitively abandoning the classical doctrine of electrical and magnetic forces as actions at a distance. His mathematical theory included the aether, that «most subtle spirit», as Newton described it. He studied electromagnetic interactions quite naturally in the context of an omnipresent aether. Maxwell stood firm that the aether was not a hypothetical entity, but a real one and, in fact, for physicists in the nineteenth century, aether was as real as the rocks supporting the Cavendish Laboratory.

Electromagnetic spectrum with visible light highlighted. Credit: Wikipedia (Author Philip Ronan)

Electromagnetic spectrum with visible light highlighted. Credit: Wikipedia (Author Philip Ronan)

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6 – Light in Architecture by Victor Palacio (2,829 views)

Light is the most important factor in the appreciation and understanding of Architecture. The relationship between light and architecture is grounded in the principles of physics; it is about energy and matter but in this particular case it also implies an emotional effect on people.

Credits: Victor Palacio

Credits: Victor Palacio

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Stay tuned for the rest of the list including the Top five most viewed posts.


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