22 votes

What type of abrasive grit was used to grind lenses for telescopes?

There is an entire article devoted to your query: From "Lens Making for Scientific Instrumentation in the Seventeenth Century" by Silvio A. Bedini (it is behind pay-wall), Appl. Opt. 5, 687-...
AChem's user avatar
  • 4,034
15 votes

What type of abrasive grit was used to grind lenses for telescopes?

One of the early publications covering the topic is Pere Cherubin d'Orleans, La Dioptrique Oculaire, ou La Theorique, La Positive, et La Mechanique, de l'Oculaire Dioptrique en Toutes Ses Especes. ...
njuffa's user avatar
  • 6,516
11 votes

When did people realize that the eye was a lens?

When Did Humans First Observe a Lens in an Eye? People probably realized that the eye contained a lens (at least the eye of a fish) as soon as they began fishing for dinner. So, sadly the discovery ...
MrsWhitson's user avatar
10 votes

Did wave optics anticipate quantum mechanics?

It is more accurate to say that Hamilton anticipated some of the ideas of mathematics and heuristics of quantum mechanics, that would later inspire Schrödinger to produce his formulation of wave ...
Conifold's user avatar
  • 75.9k
9 votes

When did people realize that the eye was a lens?

Probably the Swiss physician Felix Platter (1536 – 1614) that - according to Olivier Darrigol's A history of optics : From Greek antiquity to the nineteenth century, Oxford University Press (2012), ...
Mauro ALLEGRANZA's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

Did Galileo really see Galilean Moons?

There can be no doubt that he has seen them, for the simple reason that he determined their periods and configuration correctly, and published them. Therefore the other things (magnification of his ...
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
7 votes

When did people realize that the eye was a lens?

Here's a very early bit of research. While it identifies the lens as critical to vision, it doesn't seem to recognize the lens as a focussing device From some classroom notes In the second ...
Carl Witthoft's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

Where did Einstein propose interpreting the square of amplitude as probability density (Born's rule)?

There are no published papers where such interpretation is explicitly made. Born's Nobel lecture mention first appears in his celebrated Quantenmechanik der Stossvorgange (1926, Zeitschrift fur Physik ...
Conifold's user avatar
  • 75.9k
7 votes

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

I’d say that F. Jentzsch (1925, p. 863) gives just the concise summary you want (emphasis added): Secondly, one had to understand and sufficiently clarify certain general properties of optical ...
Francois Ziegler's user avatar
7 votes

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

To the contrary, Young's point was to disprove the then dominant Newton's corpuscular theory of light by demonstrating light's wave properties, see How did Young perform his double slit experiment? ...
Conifold's user avatar
  • 75.9k
7 votes
Accepted

Whatever happened to parageometrical optics of diffraction?

There was nothing wrong with parageometrical optics mathematically, it just did not take. It happens. Compare Google ngram for parageometrical to the ngram for nomography. And nomography had ...
Conifold's user avatar
  • 75.9k
6 votes
Accepted

When was single-slit diffraction first observed?

Fraunhofer is credited not with discovering the single slit diffraction, but with explaining the far-field diffraction pattern from a single slit. Fresnel explained the near-field pattern before him, ...
Conifold's user avatar
  • 75.9k
5 votes

Why couldn't Huygens explain diffraction using his principle?

Are you sure he did not try? Have you read Huygens? His contemporary Newton did try to explain it in his Optics. Anyway, if Huygens never addressed this question, it is hard to tell why. But it is ...
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

How did physicists explain colors before quantum mechanics?

I am sure that there are some good and fairly complete histories of the thinking over time of what light is, and specifically the colors. The following site is a simple and quick summary of the ...
Bob Bee's user avatar
  • 166
5 votes
Accepted

What was Isaac Newton's contribution to optics?

Contribution of Newton to optics is enormous. He is considered a founding father of physical optics. I can only give some examples. His main discovery was that the sunlight can be dissolved into ...
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
5 votes

Isn't Descartes' account of refraction wrong?

The point is the Descartes also argues that light should move faster in the denser medium, contrary to what happens with a tennis ball. In one of his notebooks, he wrote: "Since light can be ...
Marcel's user avatar
  • 151
4 votes

Where does "the grating equation" come from? Does it have a another name?

Your two equations are very different in fact: Snell's law can be derived using geometric optics, while the grating equation requires wave theory of light. The grating (as an optical instrument) was ...
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

Who discovered the thin lens equation $\frac{1}{u}+\frac{1}{v}=\frac{1}{f}$?

Darrigol's History of Optics names Barrow (1669) and Huygens (1653) as giving semi-verbal case by case variants of the lens formula before Halley, with Molyneux being the first to publish in 1692. ...
Conifold's user avatar
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4 votes
Accepted

How was it determined that the photoelectric effect is independent of the intensity of light?

There was no need to measure the intensity directly to determine that the photoeffect is independent of it. One could vary intensity by moving the metal plate closer to or further away from the source....
Conifold's user avatar
  • 75.9k
4 votes
Accepted

Why couldn't Huygens explain diffraction using his principle?

Because he did not think of wave fronts as "fronts of amplitudes" that can go both ways, and cancel each other when superimposed. Sometimes it is hard to imagine how simple ideas could be missed in ...
Conifold's user avatar
  • 75.9k
4 votes

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

In 1825, Gauss introduced the coefficient of refraction k, which represents a way to quantify terrestrial refraction. He defined it as the ratio of the radius of the earth R and radius of curvature r ...
user2554's user avatar
  • 4,409
4 votes

What laser technology/ies were first used to bounce off of the Apollo 11 retroreflectors to accurately measure distance to the Moon?

A short article in the IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science (link, DOI: 10.1109/TNS.1972.4326697, S.K. Poultney "Single Photon Detection and Timing in the Lunar Laser Ranging Experiment", ...
Jon Custer's user avatar
  • 1,197
4 votes

How did the earliest measurements of lasers bounced off of Apollo 11 retroreflectors deal with the light from the Moon and pick out single photons?

The short article in the IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science (link, DOI: 10.1109/TNS.1972.4326697, S.K. Poultney "Single Photon Detection and Timing in the Lunar Laser Ranging Experiment", ...
Jon Custer's user avatar
  • 1,197
3 votes

Light propagated instantaneously rather than gradually

What Roemer was says is that the astronomer's predictions were based on an infinite speed of light, but this is not correct: The speed of light is finite and the extra time it takes light to cross ...
Mark Olson's user avatar
3 votes

Technical papers or monographs without a single mathematical equation

I read something like that about Faraday's treatise (book?) (if I remember correctly, there was just one formula there). As for Faraday's mathematical abilities, opinions vary. I will try to find a ...
akhmeteli's user avatar
  • 961
2 votes

When is considered the birth of nonlinear optics?

University of Michigan Physics Department -Nonlinear Optics 50th Anniversary Symposium was held on Octber 26, 2011. Peter Franken had focused a ruby laser on a quartz crystal in 1961. This was the ...
Peter Diehr's user avatar
2 votes

Did wave optics anticipate quantum mechanics?

What Hamilton discovered is a mathematical "Hamiltonian formalism". It was applied to those parts of physics which were known at the time of Hamilton: classical mechanics and optics. There was no ...
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
2 votes
Accepted

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

In geodesy, one usually looks horizontally, or almost horizontally, so the ray travels in the same layer of the atmosphere, where the temperature and pressure are almost constant, thus refraction is ...
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
2 votes
Accepted

Who discovered anisotropic materials, and what were they studying?

It depends on what counts as "discovery". Interestingly, optical anisotropy was discovered before the elastic one, and the first anisotropic "material" modeled was... the luminiferous ether. ...
Conifold's user avatar
  • 75.9k
2 votes

How were wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum first found?

It should not take googling far and wide, a standard college book on physics will give you the details. Basically, Snells law on refraction, tells us that light is a wave. Then as diffraction occurs ...
Mozibur Ullah's user avatar

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