Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 174 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

Questions tagged [optics]

The tag has no usage guidance.

4
votes
0answers
95 views

What was Gauss's theoretical work related to his invention of the “Double-Gauss lens”?

Gauss's contributions (Dioptriche Untersuchungen, 1840) to the "classical" optical theory (Gaussian optics, i.e calculations made under the paraxial approximation) are well known, but long before he ...
1
vote
0answers
51 views

Who first noticed that the radiation pressure formula $p=U/c$ agreed with $E=pc$ from special relativity?

Does anyone know behind stories? As it seems that $p=U/c$ was known before the advent of special theory of relativity, (Halliday, Resnick, Walker says that Maxwell derived this.) when $E=pc$ was first ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

When did people realize that the eye was a lens?

All in the title: When did scientists realize that our eye functions like a lens/magnifying glass?
0
votes
1answer
76 views

Did Galileo really see Galilean Moons?

I want the answer to incorporate apparent magnitudes of those moons, power of his telescope, light pollution of that time, successful recreation of the scenario of watching Galilean moons using that ...
2
votes
1answer
61 views

Historical values of the index of refraction of air

The index of refraction of air at STP is about 1.0003. When was this established, and to what precision? As an analogy, you can find historical summaries of values for the speed of light, showing its ...
0
votes
0answers
160 views

Did Gauss anticipate Kirchhoff's diffraction formulation in 1836?

Clemens Schaefer says, in his treatise "Über Gauss' physikalische Arbeiten", that for a very short time in the years 1835/1836 Gauss showed interest in the new diffraction experiments of Fresnel and ...
3
votes
3answers
367 views

How did Gauss overcome the problem of curvature of sunlight rays when he developed his heliotrope?

My question refers to Gauss's heliotrope - an optical device for projecting sunlight to a distance by a reflecting mirror, that was used in geodetic surveys in order to mark reference points. The ...
3
votes
1answer
110 views

When and why did the 'spiky star' appear as an image in art and science?

Telescope images of stars look like crosses, although they are point sources of light. Featureless dots. Diffraction along the vanes of the support structure that holds up their secondary mirror is ...
5
votes
1answer
182 views

What results did C. F. Gauss add to Euler’s dioptrics?

I’m a fan of C. F. Gauss but I have to be objective — I don’t understand why the classical theory of lenses is called “Gaussian optics”. I think so since it seems that almost all the results of Gauss’...
0
votes
0answers
44 views

Michelson and Morley questions

I was preparing some history notes for a few subjects next week and got sidetracked on some details of the Michelson and Morley experiment. Could someone clarify or answer a few questions? (1) What ...
2
votes
2answers
185 views

How did physicists explain colors before quantum mechanics?

Visible colors are caused due to the discreteness of energy levels in molecules and complexes, and scattering. However, I am not sure how physicists explained color before they understood this (...
4
votes
2answers
396 views

Why couldn't Huygens explain diffraction using his principle?

Huygens' principle seemed quite complete in this description if applied correctly. I noticed that Fresnel was credited in the Huygens-Fresnel principle, as well. I think it is because he was able to ...
2
votes
1answer
31 views

When is considered the birth of nonlinear optics?

When in our recorded history appear first nonlinear optics thing? I am more interested of first recorded use of nonlinear crystals.
8
votes
2answers
291 views

Did wave optics anticipate quantum mechanics?

I heard in wave optics and electromagnetism that Hamilton could have discovered the Schrödinger equation, or that he was the first man who used the expression $$ \Psi(x)= \exp(i S(x)/\hbar)\,. $$ I ...
5
votes
1answer
161 views

Who was first to observe or detect photons in the double slit experiment, and how did they do that?

In the early 1800s Thomas Young introduced (a thought-?) experiment also known as the two slit experiment. He discovered the strange way photons created a interference pattern on a screen. There is ...
3
votes
1answer
59 views

How much mathematics did Van Leeuwenhoek know, and did he use mathematics in this fabrication of lenses?

I've read this article, and I know that he made lenses but it's not clear what tools he used to build them. Specifically, if he used mathematical tools of if he did that only by trial and error. I was ...
1
vote
1answer
51 views

What was the system for naming scientific ideas / inventions?

I'm interested in tracing the history of the word "Optical Illusion." See these two questions History of optics and https://english.stackexchange.com/q/260495/129806 It seems Greek and Latin words ...
3
votes
2answers
82 views

History of optics [closed]

In the English Language section, this question was asked. I posted the beginnings of an answer, and invited others to comment so that I could edit my answer and improve it. I'd like to know about the ...
9
votes
1answer
862 views

How did Young perform his double slit experiment?

Thomas Young is famous for his double slit experiment, but I can't seem to find his experimental setup (such as how is prepared the light before it went through the apparatus. Does anyone know his ...
7
votes
1answer
168 views

When was conical refraction predicted and observed?

I was reading James Ladyman's Understanding Philosophy of Science, and came across the following consequence of Fresnel's theory of light: The phenomenon is known as conical refraction and has now ...
12
votes
2answers
337 views

What were theories for why and how we see things?

That we see things seems unquestionably obvious. But, when I try to think about how, I find it as a mystery. The conventional answer nowadays to this question revolves around absorption and ...
5
votes
1answer
56 views

When was the optical effects of air pollution first measured, and by whom?

It is widely known nowadays that air pollution attenuates incoming light, particularly sunlight through scattering and absorption of certain wavelengths (both in the UV and visible wavelengths). This ...
6
votes
1answer
65 views

What advances allowed Lippershey and Galileo to make working telescopes?

If a working telescope was barely possible at the time of Digges (circa 1570s), what technical advances allowed Lippershey (patent 1608) and especially Galileo (1609 onwards) to create working ...