June 9, 2010
bright lights, big city
The term “fluorescence”was coined by one George Gabriel Stokes in an 1852 paper for the Royal Society of London titled “On the Change of Refrangibility of Light”. Chemically speaking, fluorescence occurs when an orbital electron relaxes to its ground state after being excited to a higher quantum state by some kind of energy. Then it gets really complicated.
Fluorescent lights, on the other hand, were first brought to the public at the 1939 World’s Fair, and we can thank that event for eventually precipitating glow sticks and highlighter pens.