Optics in the Age of Euler: Conceptions of the Nature of Light, 1700-1795 by Casper HakfoortOptics in the Age of Euler: Conceptions of the Nature of Light, 1700-1795 by Casper Hakfoort

Optics in the Age of Euler: Conceptions of the Nature of Light, 1700-1795

byCasper Hakfoort

Paperback | December 14, 2006

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This book studies the eighteenth-century origins and early phase of a fundamental debate in optics: whether light is a particle or wave. Specifically, it is the first in-depth study of the contents and reception of Leonhard Euler's wave theory of light. The author shows that contrary to what has been assumed, the debate did not start in 1672 with Newton's particle theory of light. Rather, it only really got under way after Euler published his wave theory in 1746. He also corrects the misapprehension that Newton's theory was prevalently held in Germany in the early years of the debate, but really only became dominant around 1795. In his discussion, Professor Hakfoort demonstrates in dramatic fashion the relevance of chemical experiments on physical optics. Finally, in the epilogue, the author reflects on the mathematical, experimental, and metaphysical aspects of physical optics that shaped early modern science.
Title:Optics in the Age of Euler: Conceptions of the Nature of Light, 1700-1795Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 8.98 × 5.98 × 0.59 inPublished:December 14, 2006Publisher:Cambridge University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0521035074

ISBN - 13:9780521035071

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; 1. Introduction; 2. The debate on colours, 1672-1720; 3. Theoretical traditions in physical optics, 1700-45; 4. Euler's 'Nova theoria' (1746); 5. The debate in Germany on the nature of light, 1740-95; 6. Epilogue: optics as a mirror of eighteenth-century science; Notes; Bibliography; Index.

Editorial Reviews

"...this book with its rich factual material and thought provoking ideas is a valuable contribution to the history of science." Nahum Kipnis, Technology and Culture