Articles on Light

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Section of a tumor observed with an optical microscope. The two white forms with brown borders are blood vessels. Inside, gold nanoparticles accumulate against their walls. Mariana Varna-Pannerec (ESPCI)

Destroying tumors with gold nanoparticles

Gold can be used to make jewelry, but also to fight cancer. Several clinical trials are currently underway in the United States where patients are being treated with gold nanoparticles.
While some things glow all the time, glow-in-the-dark paint must be ‘told to glow’ - just like a phone needs to be charged or it won’t work. Mai Lam/The Conversation NY-BD-CC

Curious Kids: How does glow in the dark paint work?

You can see glow-in-the dark paint, but if you touch it, it is just as cold as the bedroom wall. So the glowing of the paint is different to the glowing of a light bulb.
The Small Magellanic Cloud galaxy here seen in infrared light, but it looks different when viewed at other wavelengths. ESA/NASA/JPL-Caltech/STScI

Looking at the universe through very different ‘eyes’

The galaxies, stars and planets in our universe can look very different when you view them through equipment that sees beyond the visible light our eyes can see.
Example of nonlinear effect which can be observed in an optical fiber. All the colors of the rainbow are generated at the output while only one color is present at the entrance. We’re talking about supercontinuum.

And suddenly, the dam broke, letting the grains of light gush forth…

To understand what is happening in an optical fibre, physicists can mimic a rupture of the flow of grains of light – the photons – thanks to a laser device.
Earth, shot from space, as it absorbs and reflects rays of light coming from the Sun - the same white-looking rays that give our sky its colour. NASA

Curious Kids: Why is the sky blue and where does it start?

Some people think the sky is blue because of sunlight reflected off the ocean and back into the sky. But that's not the real reason.
Poul Henningsen’s Artichoke Lamp, viewed from below at London’s Park Plaza Hotel. Doc Searls/Wikimedia Commons

From the mundane to the divine, some of the best-designed products of all time

We asked five design experts – what's your favorite product of all time, and why?

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