Optics Dictionary

Sometimes reading a scientific explanation is as difficult as reading Parseltongue. This section features definitions and etymology for the terms and phrases you will encounter as you explore the science of light. Etymology is the study of the history of words — when they entered a language, from what source, and how their form and meaning have changed over time. Ever wonder how the word optics got its meaning? OK — probably not but now you can find out!


General Terms

1) To move quickly. 2) To change smoothly the magnification of an electronic or optical image by enlarging or reducing it.

1886, of echoic origin. Gained popularity c.1917 as aviators began to use it; zoom lens is 1936

Zoom lens

General Terms

An optical system of variable focal length with the focal plane remaining in a fixed position. Some components are moved while others remain stationary.