"La dioptrique" (in English "Dioptrique", "Optics", or "Dioptrics"), is a short treatise published in 1637 included in one of the Essays written with Discourse on the Method by Rene Descartes. In this essay Descartes uses various models to understand the properties of light. This essay is known as Descartes' greatest contribution to optics, as it is the first publication of the Law of Refraction.
Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting One's Reason and of Seeking Truth in the Sciences is a philosophical and autobiographical treatise published by René Descartes in 1637. It is best known as the source of the famous quotation "Je pense, donc je suis", which occurs in Part IV of the work. A similar argument, without this precise wording, is found in Meditations on First Philosophy (1641), and a Latin version of the same statement Cogito, ergo sum is found in Principles of Philosophy (1644).
The first discourse captures Descartes' theories on the nature of light. In the first model, he compares light to a stick that allows a blind person to discern his environment through touch. Descartes says:
Light is electromagnetic radiation within a certain portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. The word usually refers to visible light, which is the visible spectrum that is visible to the human eye and is responsible for the sense of sight. Visible light is usually defined as having wavelengths in the range of 400–700 nanometres (nm), or 4.00 × 10−7 to 7.00 × 10−7 m, between the infrared and the ultraviolet. This wavelength means a frequency range of roughly 430–750 terahertz (THz).
Descartes' second model on light uses his theory of the elements to demonstrate the rectilinear transmission of light as well as the movement of light through solid objects. He uses a metaphor of wine flowing through a vat of grapes, then exiting through a hole at the bottom of the vat.
Descartes uses a tennis ball to create a proof for the laws of reflection and refraction in his third model. This was important because he was using real-world objects (in this case, a tennis ball) to construct mathematical theory. Descartes' third model creates a mathematical equation for the Law of Refraction, characterized by the angle of incidence equalling the angle of refraction. In today's notation, the law of refraction states,
Reflection is the change in direction of a wavefront at an interface between two different media so that the wavefront returns into the medium from which it originated. Common examples include the reflection of light, sound and water waves. The law of reflection says that for specular reflection the angle at which the wave is incident on the surface equals the angle at which it is reflected. Mirrors exhibit specular reflection.
In physics refraction is the change in direction of a wave passing from one medium to another or from a gradual change in the medium. Refraction of light is the most commonly observed phenomenon, but other waves such as sound waves and water waves also experience refraction. How much a wave is refracted is determined by the change in wave speed and the initial direction of wave propagation relative to the direction of change in speed.
The astronomer Jean-Baptiste Morin was noted as one of the first people to question Descartes' method in creating his theories.
Jean-Baptiste Morin, also known by the Latinized name as Morinus, was a French mathematician, astrologer, and astronomer.
Hasan Ibn al-Haytham was an Arab mathematician, astronomer, and physicist of the Islamic Golden Age. Sometimes called "the father of modern optics", he made significant contributions to the principles of optics and visual perception in particular, his most influential work being his Kitāb al-Manāẓir, written during 1011–1021, which survived in the Latin edition. A polymath, he also wrote on philosophy, theology and medicine.
Optics is the branch of physics that studies the behaviour and properties of light, including its interactions with matter and the construction of instruments that use or detect it. Optics usually describes the behaviour of visible, ultraviolet, and infrared light. Because light is an electromagnetic wave, other forms of electromagnetic radiation such as X-rays, microwaves, and radio waves exhibit similar properties.
In optics, the refractive index or index of refraction of a material is a dimensionless number that describes how fast light propagates through the material. It is defined as
Snell's law is a formula used to describe the relationship between the angles of incidence and refraction, when referring to light or other waves passing through a boundary between two different isotropic media, such as water, glass, or air.
In optics, a prism is a transparent optical element with flat, polished surfaces that refract light. At least two of the flat surfaces must have an angle between them. The exact angles between the surfaces depend on the application. The traditional geometrical shape is that of a triangular prism with a triangular base and rectangular sides, and in colloquial use "prism" usually refers to this type. Some types of optical prism are not in fact in the shape of geometric prisms. Prisms can be made from any material that is transparent to the wavelengths for which they are designed. Typical materials include glass, plastic, and fluorite.
The Newtonian telescope, also called the Newtonian reflector or just the Newtonian, is a type of reflecting telescope invented by the English scientist Sir Isaac Newton (1642–1727), using a concave primary mirror and a flat diagonal secondary mirror. Newton's first reflecting telescope was completed in 1668 and is the earliest known functional reflecting telescope. The Newtonian telescope's simple design makes it very popular with amateur telescope makers.
Opticks: or, A Treatise of the Reflexions, Refractions, Inflexions and Colours of Light is a book by English natural philosopher Isaac Newton that was published in English in 1704. The book analyzes the fundamental nature of light by means of the refraction of light with prisms and lenses, the diffraction of light by closely spaced sheets of glass, and the behaviour of color mixtures with spectral lights or pigment powders. It is considered one of the great works of science in history. Opticks was Newton's second major book on physical science. Newton's name did not appear on the title page of the first edition of Opticks.
Gradient-index (GRIN) optics is the branch of optics covering optical effects produced by a gradient of the refractive index of a material. Such gradual variation can be used to produce lenses with flat surfaces, or lenses that do not have the aberrations typical of traditional spherical lenses. Gradient-index lenses may have a refraction gradient that is spherical, axial, or radial.
Geometrical optics, or ray optics, describes light propagation in terms of rays. The ray in geometric optics is an abstraction useful for approximating the paths along which light propagates under certain circumstances.
Kamal al-Din Hasan ibn Ali ibn Hasan al-Farisi or Abu Hasan Muhammad ibn Hasan ) was a Persian Muslim scientist. He made two major contributions to science, one on optics, the other on number theory. Farisi was a pupil of the astronomer and mathematician Qutb al-Din al-Shirazi, who in turn was a pupil of Nasir al-Din Tusi.
The World, also called Treatise on the Light, is a book by René Descartes (1596–1650). Written between 1629 and 1633, it contains a nearly complete version of his philosophy, from method, to metaphysics, to physics and biology.
Catoptrics deals with the phenomena of reflected light and image-forming optical systems using mirrors. A catoptric system is also called a catopter (catoptre).
Ibn Sahl was a Persian mathematician and physicist of the Islamic Golden Age, associated with the Buwayhid court of Baghdad. Nothing in his name allows us to glimpse his country of origin.
Optics began with the development of lenses by the ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians, followed by theories on light and vision developed by ancient Greek philosophers, and the development of geometrical optics in the Greco-Roman world. The word optics is derived from the Greek term τα ὀπτικά meaning "appearance, look". Optics was significantly reformed by the developments in the medieval Islamic world, such as the beginnings of physical and physiological optics, and then significantly advanced in early modern Europe, where diffractive optics began. These earlier studies on optics are now known as "classical optics". The term "modern optics" refers to areas of optical research that largely developed in the 20th century, such as wave optics and quantum optics.
In optics a ray is an idealized model of light, obtained by choosing a line that is perpendicular to the wavefronts of the actual light, and that points in the direction of energy flow. Rays are used to model the propagation of light through an optical system, by dividing the real light field up into discrete rays that can be computationally propagated through the system by the techniques of ray tracing. This allows even very complex optical systems to be analyzed mathematically or simulated by computer. Ray tracing uses approximate solutions to Maxwell's equations that are valid as long as the light waves propagate through and around objects whose dimensions are much greater than the light's wavelength. Ray theory does not describe phenomena such as interference and diffraction, which require wave theory.
A rainbow is a meteorological phenomenon that is caused by reflection, refraction and dispersion of light in water droplets resulting in a spectrum of light appearing in the sky. It takes the form of a multicoloured circular arc. Rainbows caused by sunlight always appear in the section of sky directly opposite the sun.
Alhazen's problem is a problem in geometrical optics first formulated by Ptolemy in 150 AD. It is named for the 11th-century Arab mathematician Alhazen who presented a geometric solution in his Book of Optics. The algebraic solution involves quartic equations and was found only as late as 1965, by Jack M. Elkin.