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City of Light: The Story of Fiber Optics (1999)
by Jeff Hecht
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0195108183, Hardcover)Computers you notice. They sit on your desk and hum, ever smaller, ever faster, and always obsolete if bought longer ago than last week. But the equally impressive technology that turns millions of terminals into a global network is less obvious. The phone line that comes into your house probably still pushes electrons through metal. But not far away, the signal will join millions of others relayed down fiber optic cables by laser. Jeff Hecht's fascinating account of this undersung technology goes back 150 years to find the origins of fiber optics. Then he chronicles the many ingenious and determined engineers who fashioned it into a technology that festoons the globe with cables carrying pulses of photons. It was harder than pioneering copper links because supplanting an existing technology needs more persuasion than establishing the first one. And there was competition from the satellite industry, as well as unexpected setbacks, such as sharks who ignored copper but chewed fiber optic cables. Hecht tells a good tale, combining a light journalistic touch with a scholarly knowledge of the industry he has covered for over two decades. The story is not over yet, but this is a rich account of how we got this far in a technology that really has fueled a revolution. --Jon Turney, Amazon.co.uk
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:40 -0400)
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