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I am in an optics class, and we are using the text "Introduction to Optics" third edition by Pedrotti. The book is completely useless in the course. The questions in the review section of the chapter cannot usually be done with some help from the internet. So I was wondering if anyone had a free text or online resource that would be of any help to some second year physics majors.

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Are you asking for a book of practice problems to do, or for something that you can use as an alternate textbook, just to read about the material? (In the latter case, it would be a good addition to our book recommendation question.) – David Z Oct 13 '11 at 18:57
We were using Optics by Eugene Hecht. It is well written and contains many problems. – Ivana Oct 13 '11 at 19:13
up vote 4 down vote accepted

The standard undergraduate textbook is Hecht. It is expensive, but the same author wrote Schaum's Outline of Optics. These books are not (legally) available online for free.

A good free online resource is Georgi's Physics of Waves. This covers waves in general. You'd have to pick up details and optics-specific jargon from Wikipedia.

For a more basic, conceptual introduction, I recommend the relevant chapters from volume 1 of The Feynman Lectures on Physics.

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Thanks! I actually found both Schaum's outline and Hecht in my library. – NightHallow Oct 13 '11 at 20:55
Hecht is a very good intro to 'modern optics' but Pedrotti is (or was?) a book on geometric optics - there isn't a lot of geometric optics in Hecht. – Martin Beckett Oct 13 '11 at 21:17
Well, our Pedrotti has like two chapters on it, and from what I have read in Hecht, it almost covers the exact same topics. We are in wave theory of light now anyway. – NightHallow Oct 17 '11 at 22:30

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