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Light-Matter InteractionPhysics and Engineering at the Nanoscale, Second Edition$
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John Weiner and Frederico Nunes

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198796664

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198796664.001.0001

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Historical Synopsis of Light–Matter Interaction

Historical Synopsis of Light–Matter Interaction

Chapter:
(p.1) 1 Historical Synopsis of Light–Matter Interaction
Source:
Light-Matter Interaction
Author(s):

John Weiner

Frederico Nunes

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198796664.003.0001

This chapter traces the historical development of the notions of light and matter from antiquity to the present. In antiquity light and matter were not distinguishable concepts. Brief sketches of the principal actors and their contributions describe the development of this distinction, and a timeline shows how the ancient unity of light and matter divided into separate conceptual tracks, then reunified in the modern era from the perspective of quantum theory. Along the way the forces of electricity and magnetism were unified by Maxwell, and action at a distance was quantified by the introduction of the vector field.

Keywords:   historical development, Maxwell, timeline, quantum theory, vector field

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