In a rather crowded field of books on photonics, this one stands out in a few ways. First, although the text does not shy away from including the relevant mathematical equations, the focus is on conceptually understanding the phenomena—keeping the mathematical aspects as accessible as possible. Second, the book is written by a longstanding contributor to photonics research, from the vantage point of his 40 years in the field. Third, but certainly not last, the book includes little gems of problems at the end of each chapter. Far from asking students to mindlessly plug values into equations, these problems actually challenge the reader to put on their critical-thinking caps. There are helpful hints at the end of the book on how to go about solving the challenges, and the reader who takes the time to engage with them and with this book will emerge with a much deeper understanding of the field.
There are other hidden gems inside this little book, including the conversational and easy to follow writing style, as well as some applications of photonics that might surprise even those who think they know photonics, like the section on nephelometry (using photonic means to evaluate extra-virgin olive oil versus regular olive oil). This is an excellent book for the professional as well as for the student looking to learn about photonics.