Natural Sciences >> Physics

Capturing the Speed of Light

by Shawn James


Submitted : Fall 2015

Can the speed of light be measured accurately by photographing it?  Traditional cameras record light by averaging its intensity over time by way of a 2-dimensional array of pixels.  This is effective for producing a static representation of the behavior of light in a scene at a specific point in time; however, this representation does not adequately depict the true nature of light.  Light is not static.  It is dynamic.  It is always moving.  In fact, it is the fastest moving thing within the universe.  If a full understanding of the nature of light is to ever be achieved, we must be able to observe it in its natural state.  We must be able to see it move.  Until recently, the ability to do this directly and effectively was not possible.  Recent advances in transient imaging technology have produced femto-photographic processes that allow light to be photographed at over one-trillion frames per second, essentially allowing us to see the speed of light in the context of the speed of human sight.



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Advisors :
Arcadii Grinshpan, Mathematics and Statistics
Zhimin Shi, Physics
Suggested By :
Shawn James