Properties of Light and Factors Affecting the Ability to See

Not all lighting installations are equal, and before we can compare various lighting sources it is important to understand some of the factors that affect our ability to see and perceive light.

For years scientists debated the nature of light. Specifically, they wondered whether light was made up of discreet particles, or was better described as a wave, which moved through a medium, similar to how ocean waves move through the water.

Our modern understanding of light tells us that both theories are correct, and we refer to this as wave-particle duality. Thankfully there is no need to get into the fundamentals of modern Quantum Field Theory for us to understand a few simple key concepts regarding light and our terminology related to it.

Light is made up of discreet packets of energy that we call photons, almost like tiny ping-pong balls. A photon is considered the messenger particle of the EM Spectrum. They travel in straight lines through empty space at the speed of light and have zero mass.

Light can also be described in terms of wave dynamics. Some of the math and physics that describe how water waves behave can also be used to describe how light behaves. It is for this reason that light is often described in terms of its wavelength, which will determine the colour of the light.

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