11 May 2021

The OSA Foundation, SPIE and CSIC co-publish English translation of Discovering Light

The general-interest book on optics is published ahead of 2021’s International Day of Light

WASHINGTON– Discovering Light: Fun Experiments with Optics, a co-publishing effort between the Optical Society Foundation (OSAF), SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) is available as an open-access, downloadable eBook. A print version of the book will be available in mid-June.

Originally published in Spanish by CSIC and Catarata Books in 2018 for a general audience as well as secondary-education-level students, Discovering Light is a collaboration by 14 young scientists – including project editor and 2019 OSA Ambassador María Viñas-Peña –who met as researchers at Spain’s Institute of Optics (IO-CSIC). This new version of Discovering Light represents the first non-Spanish translation of the book.

Section titles range from the basic “What is light?” “Optical instruments,” and “Safety Rules for the Use of Laser Pointers,” to the more expansive “Light in Nature,” “Light-based Technologies,” and “The Human Eye: A Biological Camera.” Content includes a variety of easy-to-follow experiments related to different optical phenomena and technologies.

“Light is an element that draws together many areas of human knowledge from physics, chemistry, and biology, to astronomy, engineering, and art,” said Viñas-Peña. “It’s an integral part of our lives, both via natural light phenomena as well as within the many devices we use today. Working on this project, my co-authors and I wanted to answer basic questions about light and demonstrate fun ways to engage with it in a way that would excite and inspire others to explore the topic. Translating this book into English will help it reach a broader international audience, and the open access eBook will make it highly accessible to a general audience as well as to new generations of optics and photonics students.”

“Editorial CSIC is a publishing house that promotes free access to scientific knowledge in Spain in multiple disciplines through its research teams,” noted CSIC Editorial Director Pura Fernández. “In this book, Descubriendo la luz, the exciting world of optics and photonics is explained through stimulating experiments that all readers can perform to understand the phenomena related of light present in our daily lives.”

“There’s nothing better to spark curiosity than the simplicity, beauty, and intriguing nature of light interacting with everyday life,” said OSA Foundation Executive Director Chad Stark. “We are proud to support this initiative and excited about its impact.”

“For us, it has been rewarding to not only work with the authors on this wonderful project, but also to partner with CSIC and the OSA Foundation,” said SPIE Director of Publications and Platform Patrick Franzen. “Discovering Light will be a terrific resource for the international optics and photonics research community, and we hope that everyone will take advantage of the open access eBook option.”

About the International Day of Light

The International Day of Light, celebrated on 16 May, is a global initiative highlighting to the citizens of the world the importance of light and light-based technologies in their lives, for their futures, and for the development of society (lightday.org). The 2021 campaign for the day of light is a pledge to support evidence-based science worldwide. Learn more about the Trust Science pledge at trust-science.org.

About the OSA Foundation

The goal of the OSA Foundation (OSAF) is to inspire, support, and mentor the students and early career professionals who will be the future innovators and leaders in optics and photonics. The foundation supports over 30 scholarships, grants, prizes, professional development trainings, and schools benefiting students and early-career professionals annually. All donations directly support programs and are matched 100% by The Optical Society (OSA).

About SPIE

SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, an educational not-for-profit organization founded in 1955 to advance light-based science, engineering, and technology. The Society serves more than 258,000 constituents from 184 countries, offering conferences and their published proceedings, continuing education, books, journals, and the SPIE Digital Library. In 2020, SPIE provided over $5 million in community support including scholarships and awards, outreach and advocacy programs, travel grants, public policy, and educational resources. www.spie.org.

About CSIC

The CSIC (Spanish National Research Council) is the largest public institution dedicated to research in Spain and the third largest in Europe. Its main objective is to develop and promote research that will help bring about scientific and technological progress, collaborating with Spanish and foreign entities to achieve this aim. The mission of the Spanish National Research Council is the promotion, coordination, development, and dissemination of scientific and technological multidisciplinary research in order to contribute to the progress of knowledge and economic, social, and cultural development, as well as supporting the training of human resources dedicated to research and advising public and private entities in these fields.

About Optica

Optica (formerly OSA), the society advancing optics and photonics worldwide, is dedicated to promoting the generation, application, archiving and dissemination of knowledge in the field. Founded in 1916, it is the leading organization for scientists, engineers, business professionals, students and others interested in the science of light. Optica’s renowned publications, meetings, online resources and in-person activities fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate scientific, technical and educational achievement.

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