10 Facts About Optics


Optics is the branch of physics that studies the behaviour and properties of light, including its interactions with matter and the construction of instruments that use or detect it.

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Optics usually describes the behaviour of visible, ultraviolet, and infrared light.

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Optics began with the development of lenses by the ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians.

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Optics commented on the parity reversal of mirrors in Timaeus.

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Optics based his work on Plato's emission theory wherein he described the mathematical rules of perspective and described the effects of refraction qualitatively, although he questioned that a beam of light from the eye could instantaneously light up the stars every time someone blinked.

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Egyptians Ptolemy Euclid

Ptolemy, in his treatise Optics, held an extramission-intromission theory of vision: the rays from the eye formed a cone, the vertex being within the eye, and the base defining the visual field.

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Optics summarized much of Euclid and went on to describe a way to measure the angle of refraction, though he failed to notice the empirical relationship between it and the angle of incidence.

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Optics used this law to compute optimum shapes for lenses and curved mirrors.

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Optics rejected the "emission theory" of Ptolemaic optics with its rays being emitted by the eye, and instead put forward the idea that light reflected in all directions in straight lines from all points of the objects being viewed and then entered the eye, although he was unable to correctly explain how the eye captured the rays.

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Optics was able to correctly deduce the role of the retina as the actual organ that recorded images, finally being able to scientifically quantify the effects of different types of lenses that spectacle makers had been observing over the previous 300 years.

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