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"Light and Color in the Outdoors" by Prof. Dr. Marcel G.J. MinnaertTranslated and Revised by Len Seymour
Hardcover - 451 pages, First Edition 1937, this translation of Fifth Ed. February 1993
This is a wonder filled book which is difficult to find. Company Seven found it to be so fascinating and enjoyable to read that we wish to share with our friends. At times we take a copy on our travels since it explains much of what is unusual around the world and which is within the grasp of the naked eye. It is the reason why we put a then new section in our Internet site of "books we highly recommend"; not just a list of what is popular, but exactly those titles that should be popular on their own merit. And since then we have made a special effort to stock this title.
This is the best work we have read on this overlooked subject; it is entertaining reading, and is suitable for most children from about Junior High/Middle School levels up to adults. With such a broad scope of appeal, we consider this an excellent gift for anyone with an appreciation of nature, optical physics, astronomy, or scientific methodology.
Light and Color in the Outdoors: Hardcover, by the late Marcel Gilles Josef Minnaert: characterized as a "testimony to a life of keen observation and appreciation of the beauty of nature". All of science springs from the observations of nature and "Light and Color in the Outdoors" is a classic book accompanying the reader on a tour of nature's light and color revealing the myriad phenomena that may be observed outdoors with no more than a pair of sharp eyes and an inquiring mind. From the intriguing shape of the dapples beneath a tree on a sunny day, to rainbows, mirages, and haloes, the "Green Flash" of an ocean view sunset, to the colors of liquid, ice, and the sky, to the appearance of the sun, moon, planets, and stars. Minnaert describes and explains them all in clear language accessible to the layman.
The author's enthusiasm inspires the reader, who is encouraged and given the abundant opportunity to make his or her own observations and perform simple experiments. Yet the photographer, astronomer, or physicist will also find a wealth of detailed information, much unavailable elsewhere, about the more exotic phenomena assembled by Minnaert over the years. Among them are Sun dogs, the fata morgana, coronae, glories, noctilucent and iridescent clouds and haloes.
This volume includes 80 new photographs, most in color, illustrating many of the phenomena - ordinary and exotic - discussed in the book. So the total is now 223 figures with 49 color plates. Most of these photos are by Pekka Parvianinen, the renowned Finnish photographer.
Price $66.95 (U.S.D.); please add $4.00 for domestic postage, or $6.00 for international postage.
Marcel Gilles Josef Minnaert was born on 12 February 1893 in Bruges, Belgium. The son of teachers, Minnaert moved with his mother to Ghent after the death of his father in 1902. At the university there he studied biology and completed his thesis on the effects of light on plants (Contributions a la Photo-Biologie Quantitive) at the age of 21.
During World War I, Minnaert continued his research into the physics of photobiology and taught both in the Netherlands an in his native Belgium. By the end of the war, Minnaert commenced his life's work on solar spectroscopy under Professor Julius at the University of Utrecht, where he received his second doctorate on anomalous dispersion and considerably advanced the interpretation of the spectral lines of the sun and stars. Appointed Director of the Utrecht Observatory in 1927, he worked on solar astronomy (the results published in 1940 as the monumental Uthrect Photometric Atlas of the Solar Spectrum), as well as on comets and the photometry of Venus and the Orion nebula.
Minnaert received many international honors. His life long fascination with practical astronomy and light resulted in the first edition of this book, published in 1937. The new edition and translation that we now offer, published on the centennial of year of Minnaert's birth, is testimony to a life of keen observation and appreciation of the beauty of nature.
Reviews and Additional Comments:
"Photographers, astronomers and physicists will find a wealth of information on light phenomena in nature such as sun dogs, fata morganas, coronae, glories, noctilucent and iridescent clouds and haloes. All phenomena are described and explained in a clear language accessible to both scientists and laymen. This book contains 13 chapters, in which 273 phenomena are carefully described...The descriptions are lavishly illustrated with drawings, black-and-white and color photographs. The physical basis of all phenomena is clearly explained...The 80 new photographs mostly by the renowned Finnish nature photographer Pekka Perviainen, included in this new edition, help greatly to make this book attractive. This book shows clearly how intense physics and many nature phenomena are interwoven. It is interesting reading for a scientific minded observer of nature, including physicists with a keen eye for physical phenomena outside the laboratory."
"Minnaert flawlessly explicates natural and artificial light effects from rainbows, halos, and twinkling heavenly bodies to the rarer evanescent dewbows, coronas, eclipse eccentricities and legendary Fata Morgana. After studying, diagramming and occasionally justifying them with mathematical formulae, he assembled them into this colorful encyclopedia, which he has made surprisingly lively with literary references, folklore and personal reminiscences...It belongs in the cockpit where it will serve best those sailors who wish to see more deeply into the universe's fascinating empire of light."
"From the intriguing shape of the dapples beneath a tree on a sunny day, to rainbows, mirages, and haloes, to the colors of liquid, ice, and the sky, to the appearance of the sun, moon, planets, and stars - Minnaert describes and explains them all in a clear language accessible to the layman. The author's enthusiasm inspires the reader, who is encourages and given abundant opportunity to make his or her own observations and perform simple experiments. Yet the photographer, astronomer, or physicist will also find a wealth of detailed information, much unavailable elsewhere, on more exotic phenomena assembled by Minnaert over many years...The book is an invitation to rejoice in nature and science."
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICS
"Minnaert's book is a gem!...It is a wonderful book that should be known by everyone who has an interest in the natural visual world. It has enriched my life and the lives of many people whom I know."
SKY & TELESCOPE
"LIGHT AND COLOR IN THE OUTDOORS is a one volume reference that covers every imaginable interaction of atmosphere and light from rainbows and halos to Sun pillars and noctilucent clouds. First published in 1940...this definitive book is once again available."
EDWARD R. TUFTE, AUTHOR OF "THE VISUAL DISPLAY OF QUANTITATIVE INFORMATION"
"A change-your-life classic . . . This deeply perceptive book changes our own perceptions of all kinds of light and color events in the outdoors. You will never see the same way again outdoors. Some examples involve elementary optics (which explain the visual phenomena) but nearly all the 278 short chapters can be appreciated by the visually alert reader. My favorite examples include dappled light, rainbows (there are always two), and differences between reflected and transmitted light in seeing leaves and grass. The Dover edition is fine; the Springer-Verlag edition is better with its excellent color photographs."
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