Optics, Video Games and Shakespeare
By Patricia Daukantas
Greetings from Rochester! I am in this upstate New York community, where OSA was born, to attend Frontiers in Optics (FiO), our 92nd annual meeting. This week I’ll be blogging from the conference.
Already I’ve been learning some cool things. Did you know, for example, that playing action video games may help your vision? Or that Shakespeare foreshadowed quantum optics?
During Sunday’s session titled “What’s Hot in Optics,” a useful road map to the FiO technical program, Daphne Bavelier of the University of Rochester’s Center for Visual Science reported that test subjects showed significant improvements in the spatial and temporal resolution of their visual processes after 10 hours of playing fast-paced action video games—the ones that require gamers to move quickly and “shoot” targets after making split-second decisions. Perhaps someday auto insurance companies will offer discounts to older drivers who expand their useful field of view by playing these action games.
OSA Past President (2004) Sir Peter Knight, this year’s recipient of the Frederic Ives Medal/Jarus Quinn Endowment, quoted a famous soliloquy from Macbeth in introducing his field of quantum optics and speculating on the non-classical nature of reality. Okay, so Shakespeare didn’t really use the word “quantum,” but you can ponder his words yourself:
Is this a dagger which I see before me
The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.
I have thee not, and yet I see the still.
Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
To feeling as to sight? Or art thou but
A dagger of the mind, a false creation,
Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?
I see thee yet, in form as palpable
As this which now I draw.
Watch for OPN’s first-ever podcast after the conference. The podcast will feature exclusive content, including interviews with several distinguished invited speakers.
2008-10 October, Optics and pop culture