The Physics and Chemistry of Color: The Fifteen Causes of Color / Edition 2

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An updated and revised second edition of the acclaimed classic
Have you ever wondered why the sky is blue, or a ruby red? This classic volume studies the physical and chemical origins of color by exploring fifteen separate causes of color and their varied and often subtle occurrences in biology, geology, mineralogy, the atmosphere, technology, and the visual arts. It covers all of the fundamental concepts at work and requires no specialized knowledge.
Author Kurt Nassau includes hundreds of illustrations, tables, and photographs-as well as end-of-chapter problems-that aid in visualizing the concepts discussed. An updated bibliography permits readers to pursue their own particular interests and an expanded series of appendices cover advanced topics.
The Physics and Chemistry of Color, Second Edition is a one-of-a-kind treatment of color that provides both detailed physical and chemical properties of color and a more general overview of the subject. It will prove highly useful to specialists and non-specialists alike-and fascinate those with varied interests from optics to art history.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...investigates just how an organic pigment such as chlorophyll interacts with white light to produce a green color, why the sky is blue, why rubies are red...fundamental concepts needed to understand these phenomena are covered so that no specialized knowledge is required." (SciTech Book News, Vol. 25, No. 4, December 2001)

"...a fascinating journey into the world of colour." (Chemistry in Britain, January 2002)

"...discusses 15 causes of color and is intended to fill the gap between a general elementary discussion of color and a higher technical level-Nassau has clearly accomplished this goal." (Choice, Vol. 39, No. 6, February 2002)

"excellent survey covering all aspects of the chemistry and physics of colour" (Asia Pacific Coatings Journal, December 2001)

Book of the Week
"Overall, Pharmaceuticals: Classes, Therapeutic Agents and Areas of Applications, Vol. 1-4 are a massive resource for those working with pharmaceuticals...these four volumes build a strong and broad foundation to those new to these fields....they also act as a valuable aid to memory to those already involved in therapeutic areas...provide[s] a clear, concise and, above all, useful reference work.
It is recommended as stock reading for anyone with an interest in colour chemistry and the physical science relating the interaction of light and matter". (The Alchemist, 25 March 2002)

"No-one could read this book without learning something new about the world of colour." (Chemistry & Industry, 3 June 2002)

"There is an immense amount of knowledge in this book.... It can be recommended to keep this volume on your desk so that you can reach out for it..." (CIE News, Vol. 64)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471391067
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 7/28/2001
  • Series: Wiley Series in Pure and Applied Optics Series, #38
  • Edition description: Second
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 504
  • Sales rank: 914,992
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.33 (d)

Meet the Author

KURT NASSAU, PhD, spent thirty years as a research scientist at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey before retiring in 1989 as Distinguished Research Scientist. He is the holder of seventeen patents and author of over 450 publications, including four other books: Gems Made by Man, Gemstone Enhancement, Experimenting with Color, and Color for Science, Art and Technology.

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Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Edition.

Preface to the First Edition.

Acknowledgments for the Second Edition.

Acknowledgments for the First Edition.


Some Fundamentals: Color, Light, and Interactions.


Color Produced by Incandescence.

Color Produced by Gas Excitations.

Color Produced by Vibrations and Rotations.


Color Caused by Transition Metals in a Ligand Field.


Color in Organic Molecules.

Charge Transfer Color.


Color in Metals and Semiconductors.

Color Centers.


Dispersive Refraction and Polarization.

Scattering and Nonlinear Effects.

Interference and Diffraction.


Colorants of Many Types.

Vision, Luminescence, Lasers, and Related Topics.

Appendix A: Units, Chromaticity, and Color Order Systems.

Appendix B: Incandescence Equations.

Appendix C: Atoms and Simple Molecules.

Appendix D: Crystal Fields, Ligand Fields, and Molecular Orbitals.

Appendix E: Band Theory.

Appendix F: Prism, Thin Film, and Layer Diffraction Grating.

Appendix G: Recommendations for Additional Reading.


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