An Optics of Visual Experience

by Georg Maier

Adonis Press, 2011
8.5 x 8 inches
232 pages; well illustrated; sturdy paperback edition $35.00
ISBN 978-0-932776-41-9


About the book:

Physical optics has increasingly removed itself from immediate visual experience, focusing instead on abstract explanatory theories and the measurements of sophisticated instruments. It is fair to say that sensory experience has become the stepchild of our modern scientific world view.

However, failure to actively engage the phenomena leaves us with an impoverished relationship with the world around us. Acutely aware of the importance of sensory experience for deepening and enlivening our scientific understanding of nature, Georg Maier devoted much of his career as a physicist to studying the visual world. In this groundbreaking book, he guides us toward an experiential understanding of visual phenomena. 

This book is full of observations and experiments!


About the Author:

Georg Maier earned a Ph.D. in physics in 1960, and then spent seven years doing nuclear-based research, particularly in the field of neutron optics. He writes of his experience:

"I entered a profession with its own specific approach to the world—a profession requiring intelligence and a talent for inventing logically well-formed connections between abstract ideas. Only gradually did I become more open to present appearance, learning to trust it right into the sphere of personal decisions. If at first I had to devote myself fully to abstraction, it was in order to develop later a contrasting appreciation for the specific and unique appearance." (Being On Earth, Chapter 5, p.1;

From 1969 to 1998 he worked at the Research Institute at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland, pursuing phenomenological, experience-based physics.



The Seeing Eye

Seeing in Space

Relating Optics to Geometry—a First Step

Mirror Images

Exploring Air, Water and Glass

Light as the Relationship between Appearances

Shadow Images

Practical Optics

Seeing Clearly

Developing Geometrical Principles in Optics (Visual Connections)


Bibliographic Notes



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