Wood Visits Rayleigh's Lab

John N. Howard

When Robert W. Wood journeyed across the pond in 1904, he wound up feeling right at home in the lab of another legendary optical physicist.

imageR.W. Wood

Robert W. Wood was a famous and eccentric physicist who discovered resonance radiation and greatly expa-nded our understanding of ultraviolet light. In last month's history column, Jarus Quinn recounted his experience cleaning out Wood's laboratory—and finding an explosive surprise when he tried to wash out a jar full of sodium with water. In fact, Wood was well known for his work with sodium. As early as 1901, he had published a paper on the anomalous dispersion of sodium vapor, and the next year he reported on its fluorescence and absorption spectra. About 20 of Wood's 220 published papers related to the spectral behavior or the magnetooptics of sodium vapor.

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