Skip to Content

Affiliated Commission of

Affiliated Member of

ICO Awards

What is light?

Reading list of suggested sources

Bertolotti, M. (2010). Why was the laser invented so late?   ICO Newsletter, January 2010, Number 82, URL:

Bertolotti, M. (1999). The History of the Laser. Bristol, Institute of Physics Publishing.

Buchwald, J. Z. (1989). The Rise of the Wave Theory of Light. Optical Theory and Experiment in the early Nineteenth Century. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Chappert, A. (2007). Histoire de l’optique ondulatoire, De Fresnel à Maxwell. Paris: Belin.Reprints of original papers on the wave theory of light.

Darrigol, O. (2012). A History of Optics. From Greek antiquity to the nineteenth century. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Einstein, A. (1905) On a Heuristic Viewpoint Con­cerning the Production and Transformation of Light, Annalen der Physik 17, 132.

Einstein, A. (1909). On the Present Status of the Radiation Problem, Physikalische Zeitschrift 10, 185.

Einstein, A. (1916). Emission and Absorption of Radiation in Quantum Theory, Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft. Verhandlungen 18, 318.

Einstein, A. (1916). On the Quantum Theory of Radiation, Physikalische Zeitschrift 18, 121.

Keller, O. (2007). Historical papers on the particle concept of light, Chapter 3, In: E. Wolf, Progress in Optics 50, Elsevier B.V.

Kragh, H. (2014). Photon: New Light on an old name. ArXiv: 1401.0293v3 [physics.hist-ph]

Lamb Jr., W. E. (1995). Anti-photon. Appl. Phys. B 60, 77-84.

Lindberg, D. C. (1976). Theories of Vision from Al-Kindi to Kepler. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Masters, B. R. (2011). Heinrich Hertz and the Foundations of Electromagnetism. OPN Optics & Photonics News. June, 30-35.

Masters, B. R. (2012). Max Planck, Founder of Quantum Theory. OPN Optics & Photonics News. April, 30-35.

Masters, B. R. (2013). Louis de Broglie and the Wave Nature of the Electron. OPN Optics & Photonics News. June, 38-45.

Masters, B. R. (2013). Satyendra Nath Bose and Bose-Einstein Statistics. OPN Optics & Photonics News. April, 40-47.

Masters, B. R. (2014). Erwin Schrödinger’s Path to Wave Mechanics. OPN Optics & Photonics News. February, 32-39.

Pais, A. (1982). ‘Subtle is the Lord...’ The Science and the Life of Albert Einstein. New York: Oxford University Press.

Ronchi, V. (1970). The Nature of Light: An Historical Survey. Translated by V. Barocas. Originally published in Italian as Storia della Luce, 1939. London: Heinemann.

Schmitz E. -H. (1981-1990, multiple volumes). Handbuch Zur Geschichte Der Optik, Bonn: Verlag J. P. Wayenborgh. This is the most comprehensive series in German on the history of optics.

Stuewer, R. H. (1975). The Compton Effect, Turning Point in Physics, Science History Publica­tions, N.Y.

Wolf, E. (1979).  Einstein’s Researches on the Nature of Light. Optics News, 5(1), 24-29.