Books by Jeff Hecht

Understanding Lasers: An Entry-Level Guide 3rd ed.

IEEE Press/John Wiley & Sons 2008 (ISBN 978-0-470-08890-6). An introduction to lasers and related optical technology, richly illustrated and with little mathematics. This new edition has been extensively updated to describe the state of the art in solid-state and semiconductor lasers, and a wide range of new laser applications. You can find more details on a separate page devoted to Understanding Lasers.

Introduction to Laser Technology 4th ed

Breck Hitz, J. J. Ewing and Jeff Hecht Wiley/IEEE Press 2012 (ISBN 978-0-470-91620-9). A textbook on laser technology for technicians and engineers which I collaborated in writing with Breck Hitz and J. J. Ewing. You can find more details on a separate page devoted to Introduction to Laser Technology.


Understanding Fiber Optics 5th ed PDF EDITION NOW AVAILABLE FROM PAYHIP or from

The latest edition of the standard introduction to fiber optics; over 100,000 copies have been sold. Covers both fiber-optic components and communication systems. Copies of a PDF version are available from for $9.95. A print-on-demand paperback edition is available direct from Createspace,, or other online sources for $39.00 More information is available on my Understanding Fiber Optics page.


Beam: The Race to Make the Laser

Oxford University Press, New York, 2005. The fascinating story of one of the 20th century's most surprising inventions, from the birth of the idea to the first working laser, and the surprisingly difficult aftermath. Available in Paperback $24.95 ISBN 9780199738717 or Hardcover $55.00 ISBN: 9780195142105 from Oxford University Press. You can buy a personally inscribed copy of the hardcover edition from me through the Paypal button below for $25.00; I will contact you after I receive your order about how to inscribe it.


City of Light: The Story of Fiber Optics

Oxford University Press, New York, March 1999. (ISBN 0-19-510818-3) A book in the Sloan Foundation Technology series. See my fiber-optic chronology and short overview of fiber history. For near-immediate gratification you can order,City of Light: The Story of Fiber Optics (Sloan Technology Series) from The revised trade paperback edition (ISBN 0-19-516255-2) includes a new chapter on the boom, the bubble, and the bust is also available - order City of Light: The Story of Fiber Optics (Sloan Technology Series) from (Inscribed copies available)


Laser: Light of a Million Uses

with Dick Teresi, Dover, Mineola, NY, 1998 (ISBN 0-486-40193-6) is available from . It is a reprint, with new preface, of Laser: Supertool of the 1980s, originally published by Ticknor and Fields, New York, 1982, paper 1984. (Signed copies of the 1982 trade paperback are available). There also are Japanese, Spanish, Swedish, and Dutch translations.

Vanishing Life: The Mystery of Mass Extinctions, Charles Scribner's Sons/Atheneum, 1993, (ISBN 0-684 19331-0) (young adult). Tells about the five greatest extinctions that wiped out many species on land and in the sea, forever changing the Earth. For immediate gratification, order Vanishing Life: The Mystery of Mass Extinctions from .

The Laser Guidebook 2nd ed McGraw-Hill, New York, 1992 (ISBN 0-8306-4274-9) (1st ed. 1986). A practical guide to commercial laser technology, written for engineers who need to work with lasers. It reviews all major types of commercial lasers, with details on typical performance. Order The Laser Guidebook (Optical and Electro-Optical Engineering Series),from


Laser Pioneers Academic Press, 1991 (ISBN 0-12-336030-7). Interviews with the scientists who developed major types of lasers, including Nobel Laureates Charles Townes, Arthur Schawlow and Nicolaas Bloembergen, and Gordon Gould, whose laser patents earned him millions of dollars and election to the National Inventors Hall of Fame. To sample the book you can read an excerpt on the great laser race. You can order Laser Pioneers from


Shifting Shores: Rising Seas, Retreating Coastlines Charles Scribner's Sons, 1990 (young adult) warned about the problems posed by coastal erosion and the loss of wetlands 15 years before Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. Out of print, but copies of Shifting Shores: Rising Seas, Retreating Coastlines are available at Inscribed copies available from author.


Optics: Light for a New Age Charles Scribner's Sons,1988 (ISBN 0-684-18879-1) (Young Adult). An introduction to optics, light, and lasers for middle school and high school age students. Original edition is out of print, but I have made the original version available in three forms:

PDF available free from

PDF version available through Google Books

Optics: Light for a New Age Print edition $12.99 from

Beam Weapons: Roots of Reagan's 'Star Wars' Originally written in 1984, this book was the first to detail development of high-energy lasers, particle beams, and microwave sources as directed-energy weapons, and to analyze Ronald Reagan's plans for strategic nuclear defense. This new edition from Laser Light Press includes a brief epilogue on the past 30 years of developmens in directed-energy weapons. .Beam Weapons: Roots of Reagan's 'Star Wars' is available from [Originally published as Beam Weapons the Next Arms Race by Plenum, New York, 1984 (ISBN 0-306-41546-1)].

Book No Longer In Progress

The Ages of Earth with with Christopher R. Scotese. A history of the Earth for the general reader, amply illustrated with plate tectonic maps showing the changing continents, and pictures of the evolving life of our planet. It was fun to write, and would have been beautiful, but it got caught in a pair of publishing mergers. To see Scotese's wonderful maps of the Earth at various times in the past, visit the Paleomap site.

Book I Didn't Write

I am not the author of the widely used "Hecht" Optics (4th Edition) college textbook. That excellent text was written by Eugene Hecht, whom as far as I know is not related. I highly recommend it for the serious student of optics who isn't afraid of math; click on the link to take you to the page for it.

If you have trouble finding any of my books, please e-mail me at [my first name] AT Publishers often don't tell authors if books go out of stock.

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