An eye on history

A new book explores the science of sight - past and present

Mark H. Blecher
Aug 28, 2008
linkurl:Simon Ings,;http://www.simonings.net/index.html the author of linkurl:__A Natural History of Seeing__,;http://www.wwnorton.com/catalog/fall08/006719.htm sets himself a difficult task: explain the science of linkurl:vision,;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/14672/ the physiology of the linkurl:eye,;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/53894/ and the concept of seeing through the broad arc of history in a way that is accessible to both scientists and laymen. It is neither easily accomplished, nor easily approached. Ings attempts to make this complex and divergent subject matter more relevant by the use of personal anecdotes and extensive historical references and relies heavily on literary interludes.
As I navigated my way through this book, which is slated to hit bookshelves this October, I got the impression that Ings couldn't decide how best to organize his task. Do you start with why we have eyes? How they work? The physics of light? The concept of seeing and awareness? It's often a tough slog, with Ings careening from concept to concept, and discipline to discipline.The...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?