The Nobel Prize–winning physicist Eugene Wigner in a famous paper entitled “The unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in the physical sciences” wrote “the miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws is a wonderful gift (that) we neither understand nor deserve” [1]. Twenty years later, the computer scientist Richard Hamming posed and tried to answer the question “how can it be that simple mathmatics suffices to predict so much?” [2]. This unreasonable effectiveness is also true for optical science and engineering.

One can go back in time to remember the ancient Greek philosophers who were interested in the description of natural phenomena, such as the visual process and astronomical ...

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