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Radiation Theory and the Quantum Revolution by AGASSI

By AGASSI

This e-book tells the tale of the researches which are routinely lumped jointly below the label "radiation idea" and revolving, loosely talking round the accepted warmth and-light trade (hot our bodies emit mild or radiate; the absorption of sunshine, specifically solar, is warming). This characterization, we'll quickly discover, is simply too crude. makes an attempt to enhance upon it have caused the revolution in physics referred to as the quantum revolution (because the innovative switch concerned used to be the slicing up of sunshine waves into discrete amounts) early within the twentieth-century. I wrote it with the next principles in brain: (a) attempt to current the improvement of the highbrow history proper on your tale; (b) attempt to current the main points of your tale in a serious demeanour; try and current advancements as result of dissatisfaction with present states of affairs; (c) attempt to keep away from reporting any piece of knowledge with out explaining what function it serves.

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Consider emission first. If a given source emits a light of a given observed color, the observed color is scarcely ever its real color: the real color is usually a mixture, and the - 29- 30 SPECTROSCOPY spectroscope shows quite easily the distribution of light among the different wavelengths. The observed compromise color depends on the relative intensity of the components. The observed color of a given source is often near the color the source emits with maximal intensity, called its maximal wavelength.

In the earlier research the task was to measure precisely distances of objects from the eye; now, a small variation of the distance or angle of a prism may be sensitively noticed by placing the prism near the eye since it causes an alteration of the color of the image on the retina. The most important part of Wollaston's technique is the introduction of light through a thin slit rather than through a hole (or through a wide slit) as Newton had done. Most historians of science regularly ignore questions that bother their readers.

This anti-intellectual idea, though empirically disproved, should not be underrated: it has dominated most of the modem scientiftc tradition and because there is an important grain of truth in it Theories do function as blinkers; experimenters who over-trust theories will tend to perform only the observations that theoreticians predict with confidence; this is self-defeating, because what the experimenter has to come up with are new and surprising experimental results. What are new experimental results?

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