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Light Fantastic

Light Fantastic is a BBC documentary series presented by Professor Simon Schaffer, telling of the history of optics. The series consists of four episodes that explore some of important historical events of light, including scientific researches, culture and economic development. The first episode "Let There be Light" shows how much of modern science's origins came from the desire to penetrate the divine nature of light. The second episode "The Light of Reason" explores the link between the development of practical tools that manipulate light and the emergence of new ideas. The third episode "The Stuff of Light" charts the discovery of the nature of light and its impact on the modern world. And the fourth and final episode "Light, The Universe and Everything" looks at how puzzling studying light turned out to be and how it affected knowledge of science, art and the human mind.

Episode 1 - Let There be Light
This episode shows how much of modern science's origins came from the desire to penetrate the divine nature of light.

Episode 2 - The Light of Reason
This episode explores the link between the development of practical tools that manipulate light and the emergence of new ideas.

Episode 3 - The Stuff of Light
This episode charts the discovery of the true nature of light and its impact on the modern world.

Episode 4 - Light, The Universe and Everything
This episode looks at how puzzling studying light turned out to be and how it affected knowledge of science, art and the human mind.


Related Links
Optics - wikipedia
Optics is the branch of physics which involves the behaviour and properties of light, including its interactions with matter and the construction of instruments that use or detect it.
In Our Time, Optics
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the history of optics. From telescopes to microscopes, from star-gazing to the intimacies of a magnified flea.
The Day the Universe Changed - Point of View
This episode shows the astonishing changes that grew out of the study of Arab optics; new discoveries of perspective geometry, new architectural techniques, and the ability to map the world and cross oceans.
The Beauty of Diagrams - Newton's Prism
This episode is about Isaac Newton's prism experiments to reveal the nature of light. To explain what he had done, Newton created a diagram.
The Story of Science
This is a BBC science documentary series presented by Michael Mosley, exploring how the evolution of scientific understanding is intimately interwoven with society's historical path.