|Isaac Newton optics|
Theory of color
- A glass prism splits light into colors,
- spreading a circular pinhole of sunlight
- into an array of colors across an oblong shape.
- Isaac Newton proved that sunlight was spread
- in an oblong because it consists of different rays
- that refract through a prism at different angles.
- This, he realized, limited the perfection
- of refracting telescopes and microscopes
- that rely on curved lenses that transmit light,
- but suggested that relying on curved mirrors,
- which reflect all rays in sunlight at equal angles,
- could create a more focused image.
- “Colours are not Qualifications of Light,
- derived from Refractions,
- or Reflections of natural Bodies
- (as ’tis generally believed,)
- but Original and connate properties,
- which in divers Rays are divers.
- “Some Rays are disposed
- to exhibit a red colour and no other;
- some a yellow and no other,
- some a green and no other,
- and so of the rest.
- “Nor are there only Rays proper and particular
- to the more eminent colours,
- but even to all their intermediate gradations.”
- —Isaac Newton, 1671
- Newton figured out how to shape and polish speculum,
- and alloy of tin and copper, to prove his theory of color
- and to gather light and magnify distant objects to the eye
- without the chromatic aberration
- then characteristic of refracting telescopes.
- Light through a prism is dispersed
- according to its frequency, not an aberration.
- Like blushing, it cannot be reasoned with.
- Individually arbitrary, obvious once you point it out.
- It can be hard to accept, or to be accepted.