Wave theory of light

wave theory of light
A diagram showing white light being split, during its passage through a prism, into its component electromagnetic waves (see: electromagnetic force) of color, a general conception of the wave theory of light.
In science, wave theory of light, or “undulation theory”, as contrasted with the “corpuscular theory of light”, states that light is composed of waves, similar to water waves made when a stone is dropped in still water. []

In c.1630, Rene Descartes French natural philosopher Rene Descartes looked through a prism in sunlight and saw a circle of colors; he hypothesized that light is a pressure in the ether and color an effect of the rotation of the ether particles.

In 1665, Robert Hooke, in his Micrographia, section IX: “Of the Colors Observable in Muscovy Glass, and other Thin Bodies”, digressed on microscope observations he had made on Muscovy glass, a type of Muscovite or mica, a form of silicate of aluminum which was composed of many layers, which could easily be split into fin flakes, which were themselves composed of several thinner layers, in which Hooke saw rings of color in a succession of rainbow sequences around a white central layer. [1]

Hooke found that by pressing the flakes, he could move the colored rings, and that by splitting them he could produce plates of a single color.

The following are related quotes:

“By the genius of Young and Fresnel the wave theory of light was established in a position so strong that hence forth the corpuscular hypothesis was unable to recruit any adherents among the younger men.”
— Edmund Whittaker (1987), A History of the Theory of Aether and Electricity (ΡΊ)

“To explain the rings of colour in thin plates, Hooke presented his own explanation of the nature and behaviour of light. He put forward several important propositions, which amounted to a new wave theory of light, different in many respects from the abstract speculations of Descartes. Hooke's first proposition, that all luminous bodies had their particles in motion, was shared with Descartes. But the fact that a rubbed diamond shone indicated to him that this motion was not circular (as Descartes had said) but a short and rapid vibration. The rubbed diamond also suggested to him that luminosity did not involve the transmission of particles, since the diamond was not worn away. This example was important in his later dispute with Newton over the nature of light. Vibrations or pulses of light travelled through any transparent medium with unimaginable speed, but there was no reason to accept Descartes's supposition that their journey was instantaneous, 'for I know not any one experiment or observation that does prove it’.”
— Stephen Inwood (2002), The Man Who Knew Too Much (pg. 69) [1]

See also
● Double-slit experiment
● Wave function collapse

1. Inwood, Stephen. (2003). The Man Who Knew Too Much: the Strange and Inventive Life of Robert Hooke 1653-1703 (pgs.68-69). Pan MacMillan.

External links
● Wave theory (light) – Wikipedia.

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