A History of Optics From Greek Antiquity to the Nineteenth by Olivier Darrigol

By Olivier Darrigol

This e-book is a long term background of optics, from early Greek theories of imaginative and prescient to the nineteenth-century victory of the wave conception of sunshine. It exhibits how gentle steadily turned the significant entity of a site of physics that not said the functioning of the attention; it retraces the next festival among medium-based and corpuscular ideas of sunshine; and it information the nineteenth-century flourishing of mechanical ether theories. the writer significantly exploits and occasionally completes the extra really good histories that experience flourished some time past few years. The ensuing synthesis brings out the actors' long term reminiscence, their dependence on vast cultural shifts, and the evolution of disciplinary divisions and connections. Conceptual precision, textual concision, and ample representation make the e-book available to a vast number of readers attracted to the origins of contemporary optics.

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Moreover, it wrongly 3 Cf. Wardhaugh 2006, 2008. 4 Mersenne 1636–37, vol. 1, p. 10. 5 Mersenne 1627, pp. 77, 309–310; 1636–37, vol. 1, props. 25, 47, 48. 6 Cf. Darrigol 2010a and further reference there. 7 To summarize, the seventeenth-century rise of mechanical philosophy made it possible to conceive light as a perturbation transmitted through a mechanical medium. Acoustic or water-wave analogies were not necessarily a good guide in this approach, because sound and water-wave propagation long remained ill-understood.

Acoustic or water-wave analogies were not necessarily a good guide in this approach, because sound and water-wave propagation long remained ill-understood. The first proponent of a mechanical medium theory of light, Rene´ Descartes, needed neither sound nor waves. The first section of this chapter is devoted to his optics, the second section to various theories by Hobbes, Hooke, Grimaldi and others that made a discreet use of analogy with sound in the breath or pestle view, the third to Pardies’s and Huygens’s theories assertively based on analogy with sound as a compression wave.

55 Kepler’s concept of light differed from any anterior one. He had some sympathy for the atomists and for Empedocles, who at least admitted an emanation from the sun and flames. His beˆte noire was the ambient scholasticism, to the demolishment of which he devoted a long appendix: The strange passions of men have become so vain that in order to gain renown through one’s work, one must either build or burn Diana’s temple: I mean that one must either use Aristotle’s authority as a wall or ostensibly wage a war against him ...

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