HAPP Conference on The Nature of Light

happ dinner dinosaurs

On Saturday, 11 June 2022, the St Cross Centre for the History and Philosophy of Physics (HAPP) held its first in-person event since the start of the pandemic, a one-day conference on "The Nature of Light". The day covered a spectrum of topics from the classical properties of light in the opening talk which also introduced the audience to the seminal tome "Optical Physics for Babies", then the metaphysics of colour, moving on to the behaviour of light as both a particle and a wave, a history of the speed of light and finally a captivating overview of the many technological inventions over the decades using light and its properties.

The conference was also livestreamed to attendees from all around with world with nearly 500 viewings to date and over 160 attendees were present in person to hear the talks and Q&A discussions.

The lively Q&A sessions throughout the day after each talk saw dozens of questions from members of the audience and there was a dynamic summary at the end of the day to bring together the various strands of the conference theme together with a whistlestop tour of the role of light in rainbow models.

This event connected the HAPP community once again and with the conference being livestreamed enabled those from outside Oxford and around the globe who have participated over the past two years with the online Zoom HAPP events to continue to engage with HAPP. The day was topped off with a special conference dinner held in the University Museum of Natural History, sitting amongst the dinosaurs!

Dr Catherine Higgitt from the National Gallery rounded off the day with an after-dinner talk offering fascinating insights on the discovery of the "abandoned" Leonardo da Vinci sketch under the Virgin of the Rocks painting by the use of imaging techniques.

The videos of all the conference talks are now available at  https://www.stx.ox.ac.uk/event/the-nature-of-light .