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The Nature of Light and Colour in the Open Air (Dover Books on Earth Sciences) Revised ed. Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 080-0759201969
ISBN-10: 0486201961
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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Books on Earth Sciences
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; Revised ed. edition (June 1, 1954)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486201961
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486201962
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #340,962 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
It is impossible to truly review this book. Well over its 40 years old, it has become a classic. It attempts to explain, with little math but excellent science, everything we see from the appearance of the horizon, to the rainbow, to the light shining of telephone cables. This edition is old fashioned in appearance, there are no fancy full color spreads. It is a well written book, clearly organized that shows a grasp of the subject and a deep affection for it
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Format: Paperback
Hundreds of optical phenomena visible to the naked eye are described in this classic text, ranging from colors in rainbows, halos, "sun-dogs" and other effects from water droplets and ice crystals in the atmosphere, to the iridescent colors of an oil spill and the visual effects of wet branches in front of street lamps. Explanations are aimed at the layman. Many line drawings and some b+w photographs accompany the sometimes wonderfully old-fashioned text. If you have ever wondered what some of the puzzling optical effects are that you see outdoors, then this book is for you.
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Format: Paperback
My father gave me a copy of this when I was a kid. I've kept it ever since. The book is very easy to read, with plenty of line illustrations to explain the optics with as little math as possible. Though one will find some mathematics in the work, anyone who has taken high school physics, algebra, and geometry will have no trouble understanding the material. But what makes this work really shine is Minnaert's attention to detail when explaining the many kinds of behavior light exhibits in various environments. Everything from iridescence, refraction and reflection is given deep explanation through many examples of everyday phenomena. What the viewer might think of as distinct and separate optical effects, the author cleverly shows to be related. By the time a layperson finishes this work he or she will have a very good basic understanding of optics. Certainly well enough to ace that section of any undergraduate physics exam.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The technical content of this Dover reproduction is extensive, with enough equations to satisfy any student of optical physics, but the book is entirely monochrome. Really Dover? A book on light and color that's contains nothing but poorly reproduced grey-scale versions of the original color illustrations? Save your money and try to find an original copy at a library that has color plates.
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Format: Paperback
I couldn't put this book down!
As he explains the many fascinating sky and optical phenomena, Minnaert basically forces the reader to figure out for themselves as they read along with his explanations. It's very rare for a science book to pull together the big picture without losing sight of the underlying physics. This book wonderfully shows the workings of a scientist's mind, and the author's enthusiasm and creativity is infectious. Astronomers, artists and anyone with a passion for the beauty of the outdoors will love this book.
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Format: Paperback
I met this book while studying the work of the artist James Turrell; Turrell mentioned it because of his huge importance on the facts concerning the psychology of vision.

Maybe some theories appear now old, but it remains a fundamental text for understanding how we look at the world (and at the sky!), and - quoting Mr. Turrell - for beginning to "see ourselves see". For example, you will now understand why the moon seems somethimes very big or very small.

I higly recommend also Craig Adcock's book about James Turrell, because it gives many other scientifical (not to speak about artistical!) inputs about the matter.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
M. Minneart's book on light and colors in nature is a real treat. The only thing keeping me from giving this a 5-star rating is that all of the pictures are in black and white ! But, if you have ever wondered about the many optical illusions and visual distortions you see when looking around you, this book will bring you a lot of surprising insights as to how these illusions are created. Great for the more technically minded readers.
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Format: Paperback
Beyond the standard 18-degrees-down-Sun definition of astronomical twilight, Minnaert pioneeringly gives the night sky background's appearance when the Sun is even further down, to -24 degree level, which I call Bortle-1 twilight, for pristine conditions. Throughout the book there are similiar extensions to and detailing of familiar and not-so-familiar optical phenomena day, night, and twilight outdoors, helping anyone to better interpret what one sees and what to look for. Many of these best features are edited out of the modernized, "colorized" (!) edition, which is why I recommend the original with its black-and-white mostly line drawings. As so well expressed in this book, twilight is a most dramatic, dynamic time to be outdoors taking in the marvellous, changing-color sky.
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