A preliminary agenda has been posted for the August 5-8, 2013 meeting in Fairbanks, Alaska. Authors should have received confirmation of their abstract acceptance via email. Questions about a specific abstract should be sent to Dr. Ken Sassen, conference chair (or as a backup, send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org). General questions can be sent to Ken, to the gmail address, or posted here. See you all in Alaska soon!
The city of Fairbanks was established in the early 20th century when gold was discovered nearby. Fairbanks sits at a low altitude (~136 m) in a broad river valley in central Alaska, between the Brooks Range of mountains to the north and the Alaska Range to the south. Fairbanks lies alongside the Chena and Tanana Rivers among rolling hills heavily forested with aspen, birch, pine, and spruce trees. Here is a list of some interesting things to see and places to go while visiting Fairbanks (in relatively random order).
University of Alaska – Fairbanks … the location of the light and color meeting … has much to offer, including the acclaimed Museum of the North, Native Art Center, Geophysical Institute (site of the meeting), and International Arctic Research Center.
Chena Hot Springs – A great weekend adventure located about 2 hours east of town on paved roads, this is a rustic hotel complex with bubbling hot springs. Chena Hot Springs Road is one of the best places for fishing and moose viewing. There is a shuttle van from Fairbanks to and from Chena Hot Springs.
Tanana Valley State Fair – this annual community event will occur August 2-11, 2013 – nicely overlapping the 2013 light and color meeting.
Creamer’s Field migratory waterfowl refuge is a beautiful place to take a morning or evening walk amidst local birds and nature.
Take a lunchtime or longer hike on the University of Alaska trails
Large Animal Research Station at the University of Alaska – Fairbanks, where you can see regional animals such as musk ox and caribou.
Take your picture by the 800-mile-long Trans-Alaska pipeline, an engineering marvel that pops up above ground in regions where a buried pipe could damage or be damaged by permafrost (permanently frozen earth). An ideal viewing point is located on the Steese Highway, just a few miles north of downtown Fairbanks.
Local art galleries offer you the opportunity of viewing or even purchasing locally produced art.
- 2-3 hours south of Fairbanks and the home of Mt. McKinley (or Denali). Private cars can drive a modest distance into the park without a camping permit, after which you can travel by tour bus deeper into this beautiful wilderness
area. This makes a beautiful day trip from Fairbanks or a wonderful multi-day expedition.
Denali Highway – a winding road through the Alaska Mountain Range, connecting Paxton with the Denali National Park. This road provides a true view of Alaska Wilderness, but beware of walking too far off the road without bear protection. Bears love it here, too!
Alaska Railroad – connects Fairbanks, Denali National Park, and the southern coastal city of Anchorage. One of the greatest adventure in interior Alaska is the slow, swaying Alaska Railroad trip from Fairbanks to Denali Village (“swaying” is a result of building railroad tracks on permafrost) in Denali National Park. You can also choose to continue on to Anchorage for the flight home (Anchorage is like a more normal city).
Dalton Highway- a rough gravel road that goes all the way up to the Deadhorse oil fields of the Beaufort Sea (where it will not get dark in August!). The real treat on this trip is the Brooks Mountain Range – wild country loaded with incredibly glaciated terrain, good fishing, and animal viewing. Lodging includes camping and one trucker’s hotel in Coldfoot. There are VERY few people who have made this trip. You will need a SUV for sure.
Valdez – southern terminus of the Trans-Alaska pipeline. Located ~6-8 hours drive south of Fairbanks on paved roads that take you through the heart of the Alaska Range, with small glaciers you can hike to at Thompson Pass. Valdez is a nice tourist town with frequent tour boats into the gorgeous Prince William Sound where you can see disappearing glaciers and wildlife that often includes whales.
Wrangell-St. Elias National park – situated several hours east of Anchorage or ~6 hours south of Fairbanks, this area offers large accessible glaciers and mining town ruins.
Native villages like Nome and Barrowon the Arctic Ocean are accessible only by air via small planes, but offer interesting opportunities to see a part of Alaska that is very different from the cities of Anchorage and Fairbanks.
Click here for information about submitting abstracts to the 2013 meeting.
Please visit the 2013 conference page to see the latest update on housing, which needs to be booked early.
Please click on the “2013 meeting” tab to follow updates regarding the 2013 light and color in nature meeting to be held Aug. 5-8, 2013, in Fairbanks, Alaska.
The next international meeting on light and color in nature will be held during 5-8 August, 2013, in Fairbanks, Alaska. The general conference chair is Professor Ken Sassen. Stay tuned here for further details!
At this 2010 meeting of The Color and Light in Nature Conference Rainer Schmidt introduced a comprehensive bibliography of halo observations, particularly those reported before the internet age. As of earlier this month there were 9719 entries in this invaluable resource. You can find out more about that project by reading the English description he presented at the conference.
Recently Rainer has announced a new section/service of the website which extracts and goes into greater depth, with quotations and comments, those entries of the bibliography pertaining to halos generated by celestial light sources. Due to the difficulty in observing these phenomena, there are few documented sightings listed so far. Your submissions for entries missed in the bibliography are desired, see the contact information listed on the website.
Sönke Johnsen, a long time member of our group and associate professor of biology at Duke University, has recently published an accessible, humorous, and practical introduction to understanding and measuring light. Officially aimed at biologists, it would be useful to anyone who wants a less mathematical and more intuitive introduction to the field. It also has a distinctly phenomenological bent and some nice photos. Here is the official blurb:
Optics–a field of physics focusing on the study of light–is also central to many areas of biology, including vision, ecology, botany, animal behavior, neurobiology, and molecular biology. The Optics of Life introduces the fundamentals of optics to biologists and nonphysicists, giving them the tools they need to successfully incorporate optical measurements and principles into their research. Sönke Johnsen starts with the basics, describing the properties of light and the units and geometry of measurement. He then explores how light is created and propagates and how it interacts with matter, covering topics such as absorption, scattering, fluorescence, and polarization. Johnsen also provides a tutorial on how to measure light as well as an informative discussion of quantum mechanics.
The Optics of Life features a host of examples drawn from nature and everyday life, and several appendixes that offer further practical guidance for researchers. This concise book uses a minimum of equations and jargon, explaining the basic physics of light in a succinct and lively manner. It is the essential primer for working biologists and for anyone seeking an accessible introduction to optics.
The book is now available in both hardcover and paperback and is published by Princeton University Press.
The media attention continues for the recently published triple and quadruple rainbows… this time in “The Times” of London.
Weather Eye: the triple and quadruple rainbows
October 13 2011 12:01AM
A rainbow is a wonderful sight, and a double rainbow even more so. But a German photographer has taken rainbows to a new dimension — he has captured both triple and quadruple rainbows.
On June 11 Michael Theusner was watching a thunderstorm approach his home town of Schiffdorf, near Bremerhaven in northern Germany. “I went to a field road by car to take some photos of the storm clouds. Just after I had arrived, about 6pm, heavy rain started . . . I waited and hoped that the Sun would come out soon and produce some nice rainbows. When it did, I realised that the dark clouds covered the sky to the right of the Sun.” And those dark clouds beside the Sun gave exactly the right backdrop to catch the elusive third and fourth rainbows, later revealed with sophisticated photo processing and which can be seen at http://bit.ly/nXmqQZ.
According to the Optical Society in the US, there have been only five scientific reports of triple rainbows in 250 years, and none of the quadruple bow. In fact, some scientists said that both types of rainbows were a myth. It is easy to see why they remained so elusive because primary and secondary rainbows are easy to see as they light up the sky away from the Sun. But tertiary and quadruple rainbows form close to the Sun, where the intense glare of the Sun makes them extremely difficult and dangerous to see. They only start to become apparent against a dark background of thunderclouds with a heavy downpour, or a shower of nearly uniformly sized raindrops. Even then, a filter is needed to cut out the Sun’s glare and photo processing needed afterwards because the bows are very faint.
Although very rare, the extra rainbows are created in just the same way as normal rainbows, by sunlight refracting and reflecting inside raindrops before beaming out into an arc. A triple rainbow forms when the light rays are reflected three times inside the raindrops, and a quadruple bow has four internal reflections, although its colours are reversed and the bow is even fainter.
There have been several nice news articles about a historic halo diagram described by Eva Seidenfaden in the 1 Oct. 2011 Applied Optics feature issue on light and color in the open air.