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

Optics in the Age of Euler

Conceptions of the Nature of Light, 1700-1795

Paperback Published: 14th December 2006
ISBN: 9780521035071
Number Of Pages: 256

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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.

'... well-balanced, and gives us a more comprehensive picture of Continental wave theories of the eighteenth century than has hitherto been available. It will provide an excellent companion volume to Cantor's earlier study.' M. J. Duck, Imperial College, London 'During the past 30 years historians of optics have done much to rewrite the history of the subject. In Optics in the Age of Euler Dr Hakfoort has added an important element to this reappraisal.' European Journal of Physics 'Hakfoort's book is both a significant contribution to the history of physics and also an interesting exploration of the interrelation between history and historiography.' British Journal for the History of Science '... offers some fresh insights on this important topic.' Michael A. Sutton, Ambix 'Hakfoort's book is well researched. It is indispensable for anyone who wants to understand the growing field of research in eighteenth-century optics.' Kurt Moller Pedersen, Centaurus

Acknowledgements
Introduction
The debate on colours, 1672-1720
Theoretical traditions in physical optics, 1700-45
Euler's 'Nova theoria' (1746)
The debate in Germany on the nature of light, 1740-95
Epilogue: optics as a mirror of eighteenth-century science
Notes
Bibliography
Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521035071
ISBN-10: 0521035074
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 256
Published: 14th December 2006
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.8 x 15.2  x 1.7
Weight (kg): 0.39