Physics of Vision


How do the eyes capture an image and convert it to neural messages that ultimately result in visual experience? This lecture and demonstration course will cover the physics of how we see. The course is addressed to physics, premedical, and life-sciences students with an interest in biophysics. Topics include physical properties of light, evolution of the eyes, image formation in the eye, image sampling with an array of photoreceptors, transducing light into electrical signals, color coding, retinal organization, computing with nerve cells, compressing the 3-D world into optic nerve signals, inferring the 3-D world from optic nerve signals, biomechanics of eye movement, engineered vision in machines. The functional impact of biophysical mechanisms for visual experience will be illustrated with psychophysical demonstrations. Corequisite: Phys 117A, Phys 197, 191 or permission of instructor. 3 units.
Course Attributes: FA NSM; EN TU; EN SU; BU SCI; AR NSM; AS NSM; EN BME T2


Ralf Wessel

Ralf Wessel

Professor of Physics