cover image The Beauty of Light

The Beauty of Light

Ben Bova. John Wiley & Sons, $24.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-471-62580-3

Prolific science writer Bova commits some howlers in this illustrated survey of lightits nature, scientific exploration and uses in technology, the arts and everyday life. ``Nowhere has lighting been used to such dramatic effect as at the 1934 Nazi party rally at Nuremberg,'' he rashly proclaims. In asserting that ``nothing in the universe travels faster than light,'' Bova neglects to mention tachyons, hypothetical faster-than-light particles believed by some physicists to exist. He touts the contributions of ``systems man'' Thomas Edison but ignores those of pioneering inventor Nikola Tesla. Despite its sloppiness, his breezy narrative holds the reader's interest as it engagingly touches upon a spectrum of topicsphotosynthetic bacteria, bioluminescent squid, fire, color mixing, mirrors, gems, human biological clocks, the history of photography, how lasers work, the birth of stars. (Oct.)