There has been light from the beginning. There will be light, unconvincingly, at the end. In all its forms—visible and invisible—it saturates the universe. Light is more than a little bit impenetrable. Modern physics has sliced the stuff of nature into ever slighter and more striking constituents, but light won’t reduce. Light is light—pure, but not undemanding. No one is exactly sure how to describe it. A wave? A particle? It is a measure of light’s importance in our daily lives that we hardly pay any attention to it. Light is almost like air. It’s certain. A human would no more linger over the concept of light than a fish would ponder the notion of water.
In just about every building we enter, we can see light bulbs that help to enlighten rooms. We might see the traditional round bulbs known as incandescent bulbs, or long strip lights called fluorescents. By now many of us have also seen and used the newbie variety of spiral bulbs called CFLs or compact fluorescent lights. Before electric light was invented, people relied on the sun during the day or candles at night to light up their homes. The invention of the light bulb significantly changed the way we live and work now.
Light is now used for everything from laser eye surgery to telephone technology. The potential military applications of light are straight out of science fiction, and within a decade light may be the preferred weapon for zapping hostile missiles out of the sky. Light could even become the paramount power source for long-distance space travel. The spaceship would have an ultrathin sail to catch the “wind” of light beamed from an Earth-based laser. In theory such a craft could accelerate to a sizable fraction of the speed of light without carrying fuel.
The more you look at the topic, the more you realize that our lives are built around light, that our daily existence is endlessly shaped and made flamboyant by that vague stuff that dates from the beginning of time. From our technology to our spiritually, we are creatures of light.
Isn’t it nice when you realize smart people have been innovating and improving products that you didn’t even know you needed yet? More light products have been invented and perfected than you may realize, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want them. Light display designers have gotten very good at helping you achieve the lighting and efficiency you want. From standard dimmers, to timers with integral atomic clocks, to in-wall dimmer/timers, you can now light your home efficiently, magnificently, and, best of all, conveniently.