Get A History of Optics From Greek Antiquity to the Nineteenth PDF

By Olivier Darrigol

This publication is a long term heritage of optics, from early Greek theories of imaginative and prescient to the nineteenth-century victory of the wave concept of sunshine. It indicates how gentle progressively grew to become the relevant entity of a site of physics that now not observed the functioning of the attention; it retraces the next festival among medium-based and corpuscular thoughts of sunshine; and it info the nineteenth-century flourishing of mechanical ether theories. the writer severely exploits and occasionally completes the extra really expert histories that experience flourished long ago few years. The ensuing synthesis brings out the actors' long term reminiscence, their dependence on wide cultural shifts, and the evolution of disciplinary divisions and connections. Conceptual precision, textual concision, and ample representation make the booklet obtainable to a large number of readers drawn to the origins of recent optics.

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Extra resources for A History of Optics From Greek Antiquity to the Nineteenth Century

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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. The first proponent of a mechanical medium theory of light, Rene´ Descartes, needed neither sound nor waves.

He meant that the direct or indirect illumination of the eye played an active role in the internal functioning of the eye: Light emanates in every direction from any luminous body, however it is illuminated. Thus, when the eye faces any visible object that shines with some sort of illumination, light from that visible object will shine on the eye’s surface. And it was shown that it is a property of light to affect sight, while it is in the nature of sight to be affected by light. It is therefore fitting to say that sight senses the luminosity of a visible object only through the light that shines from it upon the eye.

FROM THE GREEKS TO KEPLER 21 of light in terms of an Aristotelian transmission of immaterial forms. 37 To summarize, Alhazen preserved the general organization of Ptolemy’s Optics as well as the geometrical core of Euclid’s optics, which is the cone of rays joining points of the object to the center of the eye. Yet Alhazen transcended his Greek models in four essential manners: he eliminated the visual rays; he made light and its accidents the principal object of optical theory; he traced visual perception to the projection of a pattern of light on a sensitive receptor within the eye; he understood the role of learning and memory in the interpretation of visual sensations.

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


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