Only some humans can see this type of light | Summary and Q&A

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January 31, 2018
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Physics Girl
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Only some humans can see this type of light

TL;DR

This video explores the concept of polarized light and how it interacts with different materials, resulting in stunning colors and visual effects.

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Key Insights

  • πŸ™‚ Polarizers are filters that selectively allow light of a specific polarization to pass through.
  • πŸ™‚ Animals utilize the polarization of light for orientation, camouflage detection, and prey detection.
  • πŸ™‚ Human perception of polarized light is demonstrated through an optical illusion called Haidinger's Brush.

Transcript

Thanks to brillant.org for supporting PBS Digital Studios. I'm here in L.A. with my friends William Osman and Allen Pan. You guys are going to do a little bit of art here. You just decorate it with strips of tape-- this real cheap, clear tape. OK. Do you want lots of overlapping or? PHYSICS GIRL: It's up to you. I'm doing a lot of overlapping. ... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What are polarizers, and how do they work?

Polarizers are filters that allow only light with a specific polarization to pass through. They work by blocking light waves that are not aligned with their orientation.

Q: How do polarized sunglasses work?

Polarized sunglasses have lenses that block horizontally polarized light. This helps reduce glare caused by light reflecting off water or other flat surfaces.

Q: What is the significance of detecting the polarization of light for animals?

Animals use the polarization of light for various purposes, such as navigation, camouflage detection, and prey detection. Polarized light provides additional information in their visual perception.

Q: How does the twisting of light by tape result in colorful patterns?

The material of the tape twists the polarization of light as it passes through. This twisting varies for different colors of light, resulting in certain colors being preferentially transmitted through the second polarizing filter.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The video shows how simple strips of tape, placed between polarized sheets, can create vibrant colors and patterns when viewed through polarized glasses.

  • Engineers use similar setups to detect stress in materials, as polarized light reveals stress concentrations.

  • Humans can perceive the polarization of light, as demonstrated by an optical illusion called Haidinger's Brush.

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