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Proceedings Paper

Light and enlightenment: some musings
Author(s): Donald D. Patthoff
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Paper Abstract

In the beginning of the age of enlightenment (or reason), the language of philosophy, science, and theology stemmed equally from the same pens. Many of these early enlightenment authors also applied their thoughts and experiences to practical inventions and entrepreneurship; in the process, they noted and measured different characteristics of light and redirected the use of lenses beyond that of the heat lens which had been developing for over 2000 years. Within decades, microscopes, telescopes, theodolites, and many variations of the heat lens were well known. These advances rapidly changed and expanded the nature of science, subsequent technology, and many boundary notions; that is the way boundaries are defined not just in the sense of what is land and commercial property, but also what notions of boundary help shape and define society, including the unique role that professions play within society. The advent of lasers in the mid twenty century, though, introduced the ability to measure the effects and characteristic of single coherent wavelengths. This also introduced more ways to evaluate the relationship of specific wavelengths of light to other variables and interactions. At the most basic level, the almost revolutionary boundary developments of lasers seem to split down two paths of work: 1) a pursuit of more sophisticated heat lenses having better controls over light's destructive and cutting powers and, 2) more nuanced light-based instruments that not only enhanced the powers of observation, but also offered more minute measurement opportunities and subtle treatment capabilities. It is well worth deliberating, then, if "enlightenment" and "light" might share more than five letters in a row. And (if a common underlying foundation is revealed within these deliberations) , is it worth questioning any possible revelations that might arise, or that might bear relevance on today's research and developments in light based sciences, technology, clinical professions, and other bio applications. And, finally, how might any such insight influence, then, the future of light based research and its possible application?

Paper Details

Date Published: 9 March 2012
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 8211, Mechanisms for Low-Light Therapy VII, 82110G (9 March 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.911813
Show Author Affiliations
Donald D. Patthoff, Academy of Laser Dentistry (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8211:
Mechanisms for Low-Light Therapy VII
Michael R. Hamblin; Juanita Anders; James D. Carroll, Editor(s)

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