An image from the book Alice in Wonderland is shown. Alice is attending a tea party with the Mad Hatter and the White Rabbit.
Figure 21.1 In Lewis Carroll’s classic text Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alice follows a rabbit down a hole into a land of curiosity. While many of her interactions in Wonderland are of surprising consequence, they follow a certain inherent logic. (credit: modification of work by John Tenniel, Wikimedia Commons)

Down the Rabbit Hole

At first glance, the quantum nature of light can be a strange and bewildering concept. Between light acting as discrete chunks, massless particles providing momenta, and fundamental particles behaving like waves, it may often seem like something out of Alice in Wonderland.

For many, the study of this branch of physics can be as enthralling as Lewis Carroll’s classic novel. Recalling the works of legendary characters and brilliant scientists such as Einstein, Planck, and Compton, the study of light’s quantum nature will provide you an interesting tale of how a clever interpretation of some small details led to the most important discoveries of the past 150 years. From the electronics revolution of the twentieth century to our future progress in solar energy and space exploration, the quantum nature of light should yield a rabbit hole of curious consequence, within which lie some of the most fascinating truths of our time.