Exploring the Science of Light
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Optics Terms/Definitions

Optics: [op-tiks] - noun
A science that deals with the genesis and propagation of light, the change that it undergoes and produces, and other phenomena closely associated with it.


Etymology is the study of the history of words — when they entered a language, from what source, and how their form and meaning have changed over time. Ever wonder how the word optics got its meaning? (OK — probably not but now you can find out!)

General Terms

Sometimes reading a scientific explanation is as difficult as reading Parseltongue. This section features 100ís of definitions for the terms and phrases you will encounter as you explore the science of light.

Optical Instruments and Systems

Scientists get to play with some of the coolest equipment in the world. This section features some of the amazing devices Optical scientists use in their work. One day, when you are a scientist, you may get to use a Beamsplitter or Sagnac Interferometer or maybe you will have invented your own optical instruments!


Did you know there are almost 50 different types of prisms? Well now you do! We have collected images and descriptions of a variety of prisms so that next time your friend asks if she can borrow your Porro Prism, you will know exactly which one to loan her.

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