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By Edmund T Whittaker

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Extra info for A History of the Theories of Aether and Electricity -From The Age of Descart

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Was the incompetence of these of the wave- theory to account for the rectilinear propagation of light, and another was its inability to embrace the facts discovered, as we shall presently by Huygens, and see, first interpreted by Newton himself of polarization. On the whole, he seems to have favoured a scheme of which the following may correctly be taken as a summaryf All space is permeated by an elastic : medium is capable of propagating vibrations in the *Phil. Trans, vii, or aether, which same way as the 1672, p.

E. , p. 17. that Huygens' maybe remarked " following Hooke, call pulses "; having the property of periodicity. * Huygens to t is The introduction of this principle enabled Hooke and other contemporary succeed where wave-theoristsf had failed, in achieving refraction and reflexion. the explanation of His method was to combine his own principle with Hooke's device of following separately the fortunes of the right-hand and left-hand sides of a wave-front when it The actual explana- reaches the interface between two media.

But just as air is not necessarily a single uniform substance contains aqueous vapour, so the aether may contain various : " aethereal adapted to produce the phenomena of spirits," magnetism, and gravitation. electricity, The vibrations of the aether cannot, for the reasons already mentioned, be supposed in themselves to constitute light. " Light is therefore taken to be something of a different kind, propagated from lucid bodies. They, that will, may suppose it an aggregate suppose it of various peripatetic qualities.

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A History of the Theories of Aether and Electricity -From The Age of Descart by Edmund T Whittaker


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