A Natural History of Seeing: The Art and Science of Vision

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W. W. Norton & Company, 2007 - Science - 322 pages
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The science, history, philosophy, and mythology of how and why we see the way we do. We spend about one-tenth of our waking hours completely blind. Only one percent of what we see is in focus at any one time. There is no direct fossil evidence for the evolution of the eye. In graceful, accessible prose, novelist and science writer Simon Ings sets out to solve these and other mysteries of seeing. A Natural History of Seeing delves into both the evolution of sight and the evolution of our understanding of sight. It gives us the natural science--the physics of light and the biology of animals and humans alike--while also addressing Leonardo's theories of perception in painting and Homer's confused and strangely limited sense of color. Panoramic in every sense, it reaches back to the first seers (and to ancient beliefs that vision is the product of mysterious optic rays) and forward to the promise of modern experiments in making robots that see. 16 pages of color; 90 black-and-white illustrations.
 

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A NATURAL HISTORY OF SEEING: The Art and Science of Vision

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Science writer and novelist Ings (The Weight of Numbers, 2006, etc.) compresses an encyclopedia's worth of information about the evolution, makeup and function of the eye into an energetic, accessible ... Read full review

Contents

The commonwealth of the senses
14
The chemistry of vision
52
How are eyes possible?
71
The adaptable eye
102
Seeing and thinking
128
Theories of vision
154
Nervous matter visually endowed
181
Seeing colours
211
Unseen colours
244
Making eyes to see
264
The invisible gorilla
286
FURTHER READING
291
NOTES
299
PICTURE CREDITS
311
INDEX
314
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Simon Ings's most recent novel is The Weight of Numbers. His science features and interviews have appeared in magazines as diverse as New Scientist, Wired, and Dazed and Confused. Ings lives in London.

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