Robert W. Wood: The Scientist who Played with Optics

Barry R. Masters

Robert Williams Wood viewed the natural world as his playground. For him, science was a highly creative endeavor to be approached with curiosity and awe. Wood was also a scientific maverick who questioned all dogmas. Above all, he was an experimentalist: He tested conclusions, built his own apparatuses, and was excited about every part of the process.


figureWood at Johns Hopkins University, with his mosaic replica diffraction grating.

Robert W. Wood was born in May of 1868 in Concord, Mass., U.S.A. He attended the Roxbury Latin Academy with the intention of becoming a priest. However, that plan didn’t last long, as he soon became fascinated with the natural world.

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