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Screwy Light

Use throwaway 3D movie glasses to experiment with linear and circular polarized light.

Written and photographed by Donald E. Simanek

So you’ve just seen a 3D movie. I hope you saved those RealD polarizing glasses you paid for. If not, ask at the box office if you could have a few pairs that have been used and will be recycled.

The RealD 3D movie process uses circular polarization, unlike the 3D movies of the 50s that were presented using linear polarization. If you’re into 3D photography and you project your pictures onto a screen, you’ve probably used linear polarizing glasses. Both types of glasses also have other uses, as we shall see. One advantage of the modern glasses for experimentation is that ...

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