Optics is the physical science that studies the origin and propagation of light, how it changes, what effects it produces, and other phenomena associated with it. This "Optics Timeline" highlights important events and developments in the science of optics from prehistory to the beginning of the 21st century. It also includes related developments in other fields and related milestones in the human worldview.
Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman
Awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics "for his work on the scattering of light and for the discovery of the effect named after him."
Bernhard Schmit (Estonia) invents the Schmit telescope, which uses a spherical mirror instead of a parabolic reflector, and a correcting plate as the telescope aperture.
Edwin H. Land
P Debye and FW Sears and also R Lucas and P Biquard independently
Invented the first electron microscope which images the specimen using electrons, resolves specimens 4000 times better than optical microscopes and can magnify 5000 times more than optical microscopes.
Pavel Alekseyevich Cherenkov
Discovery of light emissions by a charged particle moving in a material faster than the speed of light in that material. Awarded the Nobel Prize in 1958.
George Inman and Richard Thayer (GE scientists)
Invented the fluorescent lamp.
Arthur C. Hardy
The spectrophotometer which measures intensity of light as a function of the light source wavelength.
Invents the Phase Contrast Microscope which improves the ability to view living samples by separating the light scattered from the specimen and the illuminating background light, and phase shifting the background light to improve contrast.