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Discovering Light

What is light? Scientists have asked this question for centuries.

Early scientists wondered: How do we see? How does light move? How fast is light? How do we see?

  • How do we see? Explaining how we see in three dimensions was difficult.
  • How does light move? Pinhole cameras show how light rays travel in straight lines.
  • How does light move? Lenses show how light rays can bend.
  • How fast is light? For a long time light was too fast to measure.

James Clerk Maxwell discovered visible and invisible waves of light.

Is light a wave or a particle? Light is both waves and particles!


Medieval anatomy of the eye
magnifyMedieval anatomy of the eye


Old x-ray image
magnifyEarly x-ray image of a hand


Interference in surface waves
magnifyInterference in surface waves
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