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Sons of Light

The Dawn of the Enlightenment

Isaac Newton's crucial experiments on the nature of light heralded the dawn of the enlightenment. Modern experimental philosophy, based on structured experimental observations, created the modern scientific world.

The nature of light was a key question during the seventeenth century. Newton regarded existing theories of light and color as insufficient and unitelligible. By experiments with sunlight and prisms, Newton was able to demonstate that sunlight is a mixture of various colors. Sunlight passing through the first prism is divided into the colors of the rainbow, which Newton called a spectrum. When a specific color is passed through a second prism is remains the same color.

Newton's crucial experiment

Rene Descartes had suggested that sunlight was pure and that colors were formed as a prism caused light particles to spin faster of slower.

Roger Bacon had been condemned as a heretic because he explained the miracle of a rainbow by natural causes. Bacon created rainbows by passing sunlight through a spray of water droplets.

Muslim scholars had overturned 1,000 years of dogma by studying the patterns of reflection of light in mirrors. They concluded that we see because light travels in straight lines towards our eyes.

The ancient Greeks had taught we can see because light streams from our eyes towards objects. Euclid taught that objects further way seem smaller because the rays from our eyes follow straight lines. The geometry of straight lines and triangles explained vision and was the basis of navigation.

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