The Master of Light
The Master of Light
The Master of Light
Item#: MAS-983-D
License:  Format: 

Running Time: 26 minutes
+ Special Features • Gr. 7-Adult
A film by Robert Michelson and Steve Michelson


"This product would be a great addition to any video library. There is a dearth of videos on many of the great, though perhaps lesser known, scientists, especially in the modern physical sciences. There is much more to this DVD than the film, giving it that extra quality teachers and students alike will find appealing."
- NSTA Recommends
(National Science Teachers Association)

“Recommended. In an unusual interplay of cinematic techniques, the production employs animation to clarify the theories behind Michelson’s experiments.”
-Booklist, American Library Association


CINE Golden Eagle
Honorable Mention - National Educational Film Festival

“I always think of Michelson as the artist in science.  His greatest joy seemed to come from the experiment itself and the elegance of the method employed. But he has also shown an extraordinary understanding for the baffling fundamental questions of physics.”
– Albert Einstein



All prices include DVD and PPR

Public Libraries-Circulation Only: $39.95
K-12 Schools & Public Libraries: $79
Colleges, Universities, & Gov't: $149
Colleges, Universities, & Gov't (with DSL): $449

The Master of Light is a documentary on the life and scientific career of Albert A. Michelson (1852-1931), the first American to win the Nobel Prize in Physics. His experiments made major contributions to our understanding of the fundamental properties of light.

In 1877, at age 26, using an apparatus he built for little more than $10, Michelson gained an international reputation for his accurate measurement of the velocity of light.

The Master of Light takes the viewer through a period of scientific history when the spirit of invention and experimentation revealed new physical laws that no longer conformed to Newton’s classical notions of the universe. Michelson himself triggered a chain of advances in physics which helped to unravel and unify often opposing theories. His work laid the groundwork for Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, as well as contemporary explorations of outer space and atomic energy.

Michelson's experiments and theories, including the famous Michelson-Morley experiment, are clearly explained in the film through narrative and animation.

The film also explores the personal side of Michelson’s life, notably his talents as a painter and a violinist.  For Michelson, art and science were inseparable.  Narrated in part by his daughter, The Master of Light includes newsreel film footage of Michelson and his experiments, as well as rare photos and his artistic renderings.


Short Films

The DVD includes contemporary physicists and authors Saul Perlmutter (2011 Nobel Prize winner in Physics), Joel R. Primack, and Nancy Abrams on:

-Michleson-Morley Experiment’s Impact on Einstein
-Interferometer: Dual Nature of Light
-The Accelerating Universe
-The Mystery, The Experiment
-Three Types of Experiments
-An Artist in Science

Resource Guide

Extensive additional materials on the DVD-ROM portion of the disc, including:

-Michelson’s hand-written field notes on Velocity of Light
-Simple experiment to discover the speed of light
-Links to information and museums featuring Michelson
-Articles and current information about the expanding universe