Wonder Wanderings 5: Light is Smart

Wonder Wanderings is a periodic blog series at Melody+Theology, where I point out fascinating things I’ve come across in my reading wanderings. These amazing things show us an amazing God and yet another reason to marvel at His power and creativity.

refracted-1525452-639x852.jpgSnell’s Law describes how light rays bend when they pass from air into water, as they do when the sun shines into a swimming pool. Light moves more slowly in water, … and it bends accordingly to minimize its travel time. Similarly, light bends when it travels from air into glass or plastic, as when it refracts through your eyeglass lenses.

The eerie point is that light behaves as if it were considering all possible paths and then taking the best one. Nature—cue the them from The Twilight Zone—somehow knows calculus.

— Steven Strogatz, The Joy of x: A Guided Tour of Math, from One to Infinity, 137.

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