### Serge Haroche

# The Science of Light | From Galileo’s Telescope to Quantum Physics Serge Haroche, Nobel Prize in Physics Publication date : March 24, 2022

**Odile Jacob Publishing to release The Science of Light, a captivating journey of scientific discovery by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Serge Haroche.**

**The Science of Light**** will be available for purchase worldwide in digital formats starting on Thursday, March 24, 2022, at odilejacob.com and on all retail platforms.**

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**Serge Haroche**

Nobel Prize in Physics

*The Science of Light*

*From Galileo’s Telescope to Quantum Physics*

Light has fascinated mankind since the dawn of time. Elucidating its properties over the centuries has been an adventure intimately linked with the birth and development of modern science; it has led, after many surprising twists, to the theories of relativity and quantum physics which have profoundly changed our view of the world at the microscopic and cosmic scales alike. Placing his own career in a rich lineage of scientific discovery, Nobel Prize–winning physicist Serge Haroche offers a literally enlightening account of what we know about light today, how we learned it, and how that knowledge has led to countless inventions that have revolutionized daily life.

From Galileo and Newton to Einstein and Feynman, from early measurements of the speed of light to cutting-edge work on quantum entanglement, Haroche takes a detailed and personal look at light’s role in how we see and understand the universe. *The Science of Light* is at once a colorful history of scientific inquiry and a passionate defense of “blue sky research”—investigations conducted not in pursuit of a particular goal, but out of curiosity and faith that today’s abstract discoveries may well power tomorrow’s most incredible possibilities.

**A uniquely captivating book about the thrill of discovery.**

**Serge Haroche** is professor emeritus at the Collège de France, a member of the Académie des Sciences, a foreign member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering methods of manipulating and measuring individual quantum systems. He has taught at Paris VI University, the École Polytechnique, the École Normale Supérieure, Harvard University, and Yale University.

**Contents**

FOREWORD 13

CHAPTER 1: The dawn of a vocation 21

First passions: from mathematics to astronomy 23

Introduction to modern physics 35

Shut up and calculate! 47

When atoms and photons are spinning tops: optical pumping 50

To see the world as something rich and strange 65

An apprenticeship in trust and freedom 77

Promises of the laser 81

Beginnings in research 85

First trip to America and return to my first passion 90

“Blue sky” research 93

CHAPTER 2: Reflections in the Observatory square 97

Two instruments at the origins of the scientific revolution: the refracting telescope and the pendulum clock 100

Measuring the speed of light to survey the universe 106

The science of light becomes quantitative: Descartes and Dioptrics 113

Nature works by the shortest and simplest ways: Fermat’s principle 118

Huygens and the wave theory of light 124

Newton, light particles, and color 134

Measuring the shape of the Earth 143

A passion for precision 156

Basic science, business, power, and technology 161

CHAPTER 3: Daydreams in Faraday’s laboratory 165

Young v. Newton 169

Light is polarized 175

Fresnel and the triumph of the waves 177

Combining vectors and interfering waves 181

A rotating vibration: circular polarization 187

Light illuminated by mathematics 193

Back to the speed of light 198

From the salons of the Enlightenment to Faraday’s laboratory 208

Birth of the concept of field 218

The confluence of light, electricity, and magnetism 223

Some mysteries disappear but others remain 229

CHAPTER 4: The two clouds of Lord Kelvin 239

Michelson and the puzzle of the aether 245

Einstein comes on the scene: thought experiments 249

A relativistic change of perspective 261

Space mixes with time 266

Mass and energy combine: E = mc2 272

Einstein’s “happiest” idea comes from Galileo again 283

Gravitation and curvature of space-time 291

Relativistic predictions and postdictions 299

CHAPTER 5: Light reveals the strange world of quanta 311

The ultraviolet catastrophe 314

Light between waves and particles 318

Quanta are generalized to matter 322

Gregarious photons and atoms that mimic them 329

The veil is lifted on matter waves 334

Wave function, quantum states, and the superposition principle 339

The particle family expands 342

A fundamental identity 347

The Pandora’s box of quantum physics 352

From classical to quantum: a dialogue across centuries between Fermat, Maupertuis, and Feynman 355

A journey in orders of magnitude 360

The quantum scene: individual objects or statistical ensembles? 365

Young’s double slit revisited 368

Measurement, complementarity, and uncertainty relations 371

Debates around imaginary experiments 380

Quantum entanglement 389

Schrödinger’s cat and the classical–quantum boundary 399

CHAPTER 6: Lasers, photons, and giant atoms 407

An atom dressed by photons 408

Introduction to lasers in California 417

Beating the Doppler effect 425

Quantum beats 434

Californian anecdotes 439

First major international conference 442

The terra incognita of giant atoms 445

The birth of cavity quantum electrodynamics 456

Research and teaching on both sides of the Atlantic 463

The laser cooling revolution 468

Trapped ions and quantum jumps 479

CHAPTER 7: Taming Schrödinger’s cat 489

The photon box 494

The circular atom 498

Quantum ping-pong 504

Quantum knitting 507

How to see photons without destroying them 510

Life and death of a photon 514

Back to Young’s moving slit experiment 523

Counting photons and observing quantum jumps 526

Quantum field radiography 538

Schrödinger’s cats of light 547

Exploring the quantum-to-classical boundary 559

Toward a quantum computer: utopia or future reality? 570

Feynman’s dream: quantum simulation 575

Spooky action at a distance, quantum cryptography, and quantum teleportation 578

Quantum metrology and optical clocks 582

POSTFACE: Science and truth 593

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Some works to complement the reading of this book 599

INDEX OF CITED SCIENTISTS 605

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 613