Newton's optics

Newton's optics

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Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Newton's optics. Coloured historical artwork of the English physicist and mathematician Isaac Newton (1642-1727) conducting his famous experiment on light. He is using a prism to refract a ray of light from a hole in the shutters over a window. A white surface (far left) showed that light splits into the different colours (spectrum) observed in rainbows. Newton failed to further split the colours, but later remixed the colours using a lens and prism. He carried out this experiment while at Cambridge University, but the results were not known until he published his book, Opticks, in 1704.

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