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There is no more welcoming sight on earth than light.  Sunrise welcomes us to each day.  City lights intensifying, congealing as we approach, welcome us to explore.  A child wakes in the night, sees the soft glow of night light, and welcomes sleepbackground-varanasis again.  Lights across a dark field beckon us out of the darkness. . .

So welcome to, an online, ongoing celebration of light, or as the Hindu Rig Veda called it, “Light, the Wonderful.”  Here you will find the fruits of my recent wanderings  through the history, the lore, the science, the scripture, and the art that light has inspired down through the ages.   After three-plus years searching for light in all its dimensions, I will never take a sunrise, sunset, or even a glint off a window for granted.  My fervent hope is that all who gather here, or who read Light: A Radiant History from Creation to the Quantum Age will also find themselves called to witness.

Whether you are fascinated by light in the lab or light in the soul, whether you can’t take your eyes off a Turner or can’t stop wondering about light quanta, you will find tribute here.  Though Light, the Wonderful, can never be fully described, appreciated, or defined, is dedicated to such homage.  Sectioned off by subject, light gets loving and serious attention on these pages.

The Light Poetic samples the hundreds of eulogies to light that I gathered during my search.  From scripture to poetry, from novels to hymns, mere language struggles — and almost manages — to capture light in all its glory.   I invite you to add your own favorite passages, posting them below the mix.

The Light Historic provides key dates in light’s development.  Birthdays of light’s curious students.  Major breakthroughs in science.  Landmark works of art and architecture. . .  The Light Historic gives light a firm place on the calendar.

The Light Fantastic celebrates the major festivals of light that take place annually around the world.  Some are religious, others touristy, but all are dazzling.

The Light Astonishing will try — try, I say — to keep up with the latest wonders of light coming out of optics labs.  “Probably anything you can imagine doing with light can happen,” University of Arizona physicist Thomas Miltser told me when I visited the U of A’s College of Optical Sciences.  Laser fusion?  Done that.  Running computers with photons?  Almost.  Invisibility?  Workin’ on it…

The Light Intrusive describes the spreading plague of light pollution.  Bleached skies, gauzy nights, the disappearing Milky Way — all are byproducts of our craving for light and our insecurity in its absence.  Can we save the night sky?  Many are trying.  Join them, as I have.

The Light Artistic offers a brief tour of the best light on canvas.  Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Turner,

Turner's Caernarvon Castle

J.M.W. Turner’s Caernarvon Castle

Monet and other Impressionists — all have taken light to new levels in art.  Again, I invite you to post your favorite Light Art.

Finally, turns the celebration over to you.  Under Post Your Light Photos, you can upload your own images of Light, the Wonderful.  Sunrises, sunsets, sun dogs, and all manners of moon — let’s see and share them, with a brief description of the where and how.

So welcome to  With all of the above plus weekly blog posts about developments new and old, we continue the awe and amazement that dates to the first peoples and has yet to abate.  To paraphrase John Milton, “Hail Holy Light, particle, wave, and wonder.”


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