You see fluorescent lamps everywhere -- in offices, stores, warehouses, street corners -- even in peoples' homes. But even though they're all around us, these devices are a total mystery to most people. Just what is going on inside those white tubes?

In this edition of HowStuffWorks, we'll find out how fluorescent lamps emit such a bright glow without getting scalding hot like an ordinary light bulb. We'll also find out why fluorescent lamps are more efficient than incandescent lighting, and see how this technology is used in other sorts of lamps.