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Optics: The Science of Vision
By Vasco Ronchi

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Optics: The Science of Vision

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Optics: The Science of Vision
By Vasco Ronchi
Translated from Italian by Edward Rosen
Dover Publications, (1991)
ISBN:0-486-66846-0
Genre: Science - Physics

Reviewed by Herbert White - June 30, 2001

Vasco Ronchi was a noted physicist that specialized in the study of optics. One of his main contributions to the field of optics was that he brought up the aspect that optics was primarily studied under ideal conditions and that ideal conditions where seldom present in real life. He felt that scientist should try to take into account the subjective nature of optics, and vision, and include subjective data into their research to more reflect reality. Although this thought seems to be one of common sense, it was a controversial idea when it was first proposed.

Optics: The Science of Vision delineates Ronchi's revolutionary theory, and the study of optics in general. In this text, Ronchi describes the physics behind the study of optics, and how this study relates to vision. He also delves into the history of the study of optics, and he presents, from the seventeenth century onward, how the science has developed. Ronchi also explains what vision is, how it is measured, and why he contends that visual optical phenomena should be viewed within the context of its physico-physiologico-psychological facets.

This book is geared primarily toward a scientific audience. However, lay readers will find it comprehensible if they have a basic grounding in physics, and a little calculus is helpful to grasp some of the concepts discussed. The text also includes a variety of illustrations that help to clarify the subjects being discussed. Also, the text is dated in some areas, which is to be expected as it was originally published in 1955. This volume is a republication of the 1957, New York University Press edition. Nonetheless, this is still a worthwhile book to study for anyone interested in the study of optics or of vision in general. It also offers an excellent explanation on how the eye's see, and more important, on how visual acuity is measured.


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