The Interaction of
Light and Matter

We have now surveyed some basic properties of electromagnetic radiation. However, light in itself does not carry much information about the Universe. The reason that light is so important for our understanding of the Universe is because light interacts with matter, and that interaction can tell us a great deal about the nature of the matter. Thus, we must understand the interaction of light with matter. We begin with a simple review of some basic properties of matter starting at the atomic level.

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