I need to learn basic optics for a high school academic competition. Does anyone know any good places, preferably free and online, to learn the basics of optics, like lenses, angles of incidence, etc.? I can't seem to find an MIT OpenCourseWare course addressing the issue.


Before answering, please see our policy on resource recommendation questions. Please write substantial answers that detail the style, content, and prerequisites of the book, paper or other resource. Explain the nature of the resource so that readers can decide which one is best suited for them rather than relying on the opinions of others. Answers containing only a reference to a book or paper will be removed!



Scroll down till #145, that's where optics starts. If you want just lenses, start with the 'virtual image' one.

If not for your online-only request, I would have suggested Resnick-Halliday-Walker. IMHO, that's just about the best book for classical anything

  • $\begingroup$ Well, it said "preferably" free and online, not "necessarily," so I think HRW is a fair answer to this question. $\endgroup$ – David Z Feb 22 '12 at 3:50
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidZaslavsky Good point. $\endgroup$ – Manishearth Feb 22 '12 at 3:52
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the link. I like Khan Academy's more wordy explanation - it let's me get an intuitive and quantitative understanding. Also, thanks for the book link although it's a bit out of my means. $\endgroup$ – Eric Thoma Feb 23 '12 at 1:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.