Optics is a venerable and important branch of science. Because nearly all the readers of this journal use it in their professional work, and because everyone uses applied optics in daily life, a short history of the subject may be of interest. It will be illustrated by postage stamps;
they provide a colorful and fairly complete coverage of the subject. This article follows the format of two similar papers that have appeared in this journal: a postage stamp history of spectroscopy and a postage stamp history of chemistry. The discussion here is chronological except for the
placement of physiological optics near the end. Very little will be said about the nature of light, and spectroscopy and electron optics will be omitted entirely. All the stamps are identified in Table I.
Department of Chemistry, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260
Publication date: January 1, 1992
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The Society publishes the internationally recognized, peer reviewed journal, Applied Spectroscopy, which is available both in print and online. Subscriptions are included with membership or can be purchased by institutional or corporate organizations. Abstracts may be viewed free of charge. Previously published as Bulletin (Society for Applied Spectroscopy)