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Sunday, September 5 • 11:00am - 11:30am
The Most Dreaded Question: Is Light a Wave or a Particle (in Eä)?

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Among Tolkien’s inventions, light is one of the most intriguing imageries to be found in the secondary world. This paper answers the most classic question of physics about light, whether it is a wave or a particle, for the secondary world: this is by no means a physics article but a literary experiment welcoming a multidisciplinary approach. In a letter to his son Christopher, Tolkien mentions ‘a sudden vision (or perhaps apperception)’ (99) he has in St Gregory’s church: he perceives the Light of God in which there is one small mote with which he identifies, but he also sees the connection between the Light and mote as one individual ray, which he describes as a line. This paper asserts that Tolkien regards light imagery in the primary world as both a wave and a particle, and introduces his observation into his secondary world: the unstoppable photons, which are particles forming light and also acting like waves in the primary world, reverberate in the form of the Flame Imperishable.

avatar for Asli Bulbul

Asli Bulbul

Asli Bulbul is a postgraduate in the School of Critical Studies at the University of Glasgow and studies light imagery as the diegetic world-builder in J.R.R. Tolkien's secondary world. She received her BA from Istanbul University and MA from Istanbul Aydin University, both degrees... Read More →

Sunday September 5, 2021 11:00am - 11:30am BST
1 - Mary Ogilvie Lecture Theatre & Online (Webinar Strand)