The Newton disc, also known as the Disappearing Colour Disc, is a well-known physics experiment with a rotating disc with segments in different colors (usually Newton's primary colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet or VIBGYOR) appearing as white (or off-white or gray) when it spins very fast.
This type of mix of light stimuli is called temporal optical mixing, a version of additive-averaging mixing.The concept that human visual perception cannot distinguish details of high-speed movements is popularly known as persistence of vision.
The disc is named after Isaac Newton. Although he published a circular diagram with segments for the primary colors that he had discovered, it is uncertain whether he actually ever used a spinning disc to demonstrate the principles of light.
Transparent variations for magic lantern projection have been produced.
Around 165 CE, Ptolemy described in his book Optics a rotating potter's wheel with different colors on it. He noted how the different colors of sectors mixed together into one color and how dots appeared as circles when the wheel was spinning very fast. When lines are drawn across the axis of the disc they make the whole surface appear to be of a uniform color. "The visual impression that is created in the first revolution is invariably followed by repeated instances that subsequently produce an identical impression. This also happens in the case of shooting stars, whose light seems distended on account of their speed of motion, all according to the amount of perceptible distance it passes along with the sensible impression that arises in the visual faculty."
Porphyry (c. 243 – c. 305) wrote in his commentary on Ptolemy's Harmonics how the senses are not stable but confused and inaccurate. Certain intervals between repeated impressions are not detected. A white or black spot on a spinning cone (or top) appears as a circle of that color and a line on the top makes the whole surface appear in that color. "Because of the swiftness of the movement we receive the impression of the line on every part of the cone as the line moves." in the 11th century Ibn al-Haytham, who was familiar with Ptolemy's writings, described how colored lines on a spinning top could not be discerned as different colors but appeared as one new color composed of all of the colors of the lines. He deducted that sight needs some time to discern a color. al-Haytam also noted that the top appeared motionless when spun extremely quick "for none of its points remains fixed in the same spot for any perceptible time". After Ibn al-Haytham, Fakhr al-Din al-Razi (d. 1209) performed the spinning disk experiment, and like his predecessors he concluded that it shows an optical illusion. However, the famous astronomer-mathematician Nasir al-Din al-Tusi described al-Razi's text and arrived at a very different conclusion. Tusi introduced a common sense organ that forwards color impressions to the soul. When colors change too fast, this organ can only pass on the mixed color. One of Tusi's students was Qutb al-Din al-Shirazi (d.1311), and together with his own brilliant student Kamal al-Din al-Farisi he tried to explain the colors perceived in the experiment .
On 6 February 1671, Isaac Newton wrote a paper about the experiments he had been conducting since 1666 with the refraction of light through glass prisms. He concluded that the different refracted rays of light – well parted from others – could not be changed by further refraction, nor by reflection or other means, except through mixture with other rays. He thus found the seven primary colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue, "a violet-purple" and indigo. When mixing the coloured rays from a prism, he found that "the most surprising and wonderful composition was that of whiteness" requiring all the primary colors "mixed in a due proportion".
In reaction to Robert Hooke's criticism of the new theory of light, Newton published a letter in the Philosophical Transactions in 17, with other experiments that proved how sunlight existed of rays with different colours. He described how the cogs or teeth of a gyrating wheel behind a prism can block part of the light so that all the colours would be projected successively if the wheel turns rather slow, but how all the colours will be mixed into white light if the wheel turn very fast. He also pointed out that rays of light that were reflected from multi-coloured bodies were weakened by the loss of many rays and that a mixture of those rays would not produce a pure white, but a gray or "dirty" colour. This could be seen in dust, which on close inspection would reveal that it consists of many coloured particles, or when mixing several colours of paint. He also referred to a child's top which would display a "dirty" colour if it was painted in several colours and made to spin fast by whipping it.
After presenting his conclusions about dividing sunlight into primary colors and mixing them back together into white light, Newton presented a color circle to illustrate the relations between these colors in his book Opticks (1704).
Many modern sources state that Isaac Newton himself used a spinning disc with colored sectors to demonstrate how white light was actually the compound of the primary colors.However, these do not reference any historical source.
According to Joseph Plateau the first to describe how a spinning disc with Newton's seven primary colours would show an (imperfect) white colour was Pieter van Musschenbroek in 1762.
Ḥasan Ibn al-Haytham was a Muslim Arab mathematician, astronomer, and physicist of the Islamic Golden Age. Referred to as "the father of modern optics", he made significant contributions to the principles of optics and visual perception in particular. His most influential work is titled Kitāb al-Manāẓir, written during 1011–1021, which survived in a Latin edition. A polymath, he also wrote on philosophy, theology and medicine.
Light or visible light is electromagnetic radiation within the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that is perceived by the human eye. Visible light is usually defined as having wavelengths in the range of 400–700 nanometres (nm), between the infrared and the ultraviolet. This wavelength means a frequency range of roughly 430–750 terahertz (THz).
Persistence of vision traditionally refers to the optical illusion that occurs when visual perception of an object does not cease for some time after the rays of light proceeding from it have ceased to enter the eye. The illusion has also been described as "retinal persistence", "persistence of impressions", simply "persistence" and other variations.
A set of primary colors is a set of real colorants or colored lights that can be mixed in varying amounts to produce a gamut of colors. This is the essential method used in applications that are intended to elicit the perception of diverse sets of color, e.g. electronic displays, color printing, and paintings. Perceptions associated with a given combination of primary colors are predicted by applying the appropriate mixing model that embodies the underlying physics of how light interacts with physical media and ultimately the retina.
An optical prism is a transparent optical element with flat, polished surfaces that refract light. At least one surface must be angled — elements with two parallel surfaces are not prisms. The traditional geometrical shape of an optical prism 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, acrylic and fluorite.
The following article is part of a biography of Sir Isaac Newton, the English mathematician and scientist, author of the Principia. It portrays the years after Newton's birth in 1642, his education, as well as his early scientific contributions, before the writing of his main work, the Principia Mathematica, in 1685.
Complementary colors are pairs of colors which, when combined or mixed, cancel each other out by producing a grayscale color like white or black. When placed next to each other, they create the strongest contrast for those two colors. Complementary colors may also be called "opposite colors".
In the visual arts, color theory is a body of practical guidance to color mixing and the visual effects of a specific color combination. There are also definitions of colors based on the color wheel: primary color, secondary color, and tertiary color. Color theory has a history that goes back all the way to Antiquity. Aristotle and Claudius Ptolemy already discussed which and how colors can be produced by mixing other colors. The influence of light on color was investigated and revealed further by al-Kindi and Ibn al-Haytham (d.1039). Ibn Sina, Nasir al-Din al-Tusi and Robert Grosseteste discovered that contrary to the teachings of Aristotle, there are multiple color paths to get from black to white. More modern approaches to color theory principles can be found in the writings of Leone Battista Alberti and the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci. A tradition of "color theory" began in the 18th century, initially within a partisan controversy over Isaac Newton's theory of color and the nature of primary colors. From there it developed as an independent artistic tradition with only superficial reference to colorimetry and vision science.
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 has made 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. Opticks was Newton's second major book on physical science and it is considered one of the three major works on optics during the Scientific Revolution. Newton's name did not appear on the title page of the first edition of Opticks.
A color wheel or color circle is an abstract illustrative organization of color hues around a circle, which shows the relationships between primary colors, secondary colors, tertiary colors etc.
Newton's rings is a phenomenon in which an interference pattern is created by the reflection of light between two surfaces; a spherical surface and an adjacent touching flat surface. It is named after Isaac Newton, who investigated the effect in 1666. When viewed with monochromatic light, Newton's rings appear as a series of concentric, alternating bright and dark rings centered at the point of contact between the two surfaces. When viewed with white light, it forms a concentric ring pattern of rainbow colors, because the different wavelengths of light interfere at different thicknesses of the air layer between the surfaces.
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.
Theory of Colours is a book by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe about the poet's views on the nature of colours and how these are perceived by humans. It was published in German in 1810 and in English in 1840. The book contains detailed descriptions of phenomena such as coloured shadows, refraction, and chromatic aberration.
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, the corpuscular theory of light, arguably set forward by Descartes in 1637, states that light is made up of small discrete particles called "corpuscles" which travel in a straight line with a finite velocity and possess impetus. This was based on an alternate description of atomism of the time period.
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.
The Book of Optics is a seven-volume treatise on optics and other fields of study composed by the medieval Arab scholar Ibn al-Haytham, known in the West as Alhazen or Alhacen.
On Vision and Colors is a treatise by Arthur Schopenhauer that was published in May 1816 when the author was 28 years old. Schopenhauer had extensive discussions with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe about the poet's Theory of Colours of 1810, in the months around the turn of the years 1813 and 1814, and initially shared Goethe's views. Their growing theoretical disagreements and Schopenhauer's criticisms made Goethe distance himself from his young collaborator. Although Schopenhauer considered his own theory superior, he would still continue to praise Goethe’s work as an important introduction to his own.
Quaestiones quaedam philosophicae is the name given to a set of notes that Isaac Newton kept for himself during his earlier years in Cambridge. They concern questions in the natural philosophy of the day that interested him. Apart from the light it throws on the formation of his own agenda for research, the major interest in these notes is the documentation of the unaided development of the scientific method in the mind of Newton, whereby every question is put to experimental test.