City of Light

City of Light : The Story of Fiber Optics

3.91 (23 ratings by Goodreads)
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Fiber optic technology is revolutionizing telecommunications and thus our lives. Networks of opitcal fibers have spread around the world, opening the door to the possibility of a new information age, and spurring telephone and cable television companies into a billion-dollar race for control over the next generation of services and equipment. The story of this technology is fascinating complex, and largely untold. Hecht tells this story, from its beginning in 19th-century attempts to guide light, for purposes of illuminating the insides of the human body, to today's mysterious, ubiquitous communications technologies. We hear the crucial conversation in 1951 that led to the realization that optical fibers might conduct light if coated with a layer of transparent material. Hecht also describes the medical technologies developed in the 1960's, which allowed doctors to see inside patients' stomachs and better understand gastric disorders. And we learn of the race to develop fiber-optic technology that could control the laser, the brilliant concentrated beam that captured the imagination of the physics community. This history is meticulously detailed from beginning to end, allowing for explorations of experiments that now seem strange and even humorous, but nonetheless illuminate the origins of the technology. We get the whole story, including the huge range of contributing characters, accidents, and revolutionary ideas. The book is infused with the spirit of fascination and fun, and the reader will enjoy the story for its own sake, as well for the historical picture it provides of a technology on which we all more

Product details

  • Hardback | 328 pages
  • 164.8 x 241 x 30.2mm | 696.71g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New
  • 16 pp black and white plates, 6 halftones, 15 line drawings
  • 0195108183
  • 9780195108187

Review quote

Jeff thus thoroughly well qualified to write this 'popular' technological history; and a thoroughly good job he has made of it...the book can be recommended unreservedly as an accessible history of optical fibres. * Engineering Science and Education Journal * City of Light is facinating to read...It should appeal to anyone who wants to know how the modern world of optical communications evolved. And it should inspire any technologist or scientist to see how success can be achieved through the determination and imagination of all of those involved. * Physics World *show more

Table of contents

1. Introduction: Building a City of Light ; 2. Guiding Light and Luminous Fountains ; 3. Fibers of Glass ; 4. The Quest for Remote Viewing: Television and the Legacy of Sword Swallowers ; 5. A Critical Insight: The Birth of the Clad Optical Fiber ; 6. 99 Percent Perspiration: The Birth of an Industry ; 7. A Vision of the Futue: Communicating with Light ; 8. The Laser Stimulates the Emission of New Ideas ; 9. "The Only Thing Left is Optical Fibers" ; 10. Trying to Sell a Dream ; 11. Breakthrough: The Clearest Glass in the World ; 12. Recipes for Grains of Salt: The Semiconductor Laser ; 13. A Demonstration for the Queen ; 14. Three Generations in Five Years ; 15. Submarine Cables: "The Ocean Floor Will Be Covered with Glass" ; 16. The Last Mile: An Elusive Vision ; 17. Reflections on the City of Light ; Appendix A: Dramatis Personae: Cast of Characters ; Appendix B: A Fiber-Optic Technologyshow more

About Jeff Hecht

Jeff Hecht is a Correspondent with New Scientist more

Rating details

23 ratings
3.91 out of 5 stars
5 26% (6)
4 52% (12)
3 13% (3)
2 4% (1)
1 4% (1)
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