ISAAC NEWTON AND LIGHT

Isaac Newton discovered the nature of light when he darkened his room and "made a small hole in my shuts to let in a convenient quantity of the sun's light."

He passed this beam of sunlight through a prism. When the light came out of the prism it was not white but was of seven different colors: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet.

The spreading into rays was called dispersion by Newton and he called the different colored rays the spectrum.

He learned that when the light rays were passed again through a prism the rays turned back into white light. If only one ray was passed through the prism it would come out the same color as it went in. Newton concluded that white light was made up of seven different colored rays. The rays were dispersed through the prism because the rays were reflected at different angles.
PhysicsQuest

PART III. LIGHT,
COLOR AND OPTICS
QUESTIONS

1. Describe the formation of Rainbows

2. Discuss the color of the Sky and the colors of Sunsets.

Suggested Links:

Physics of Rainbows
How Rainbows Work
Physics of the Blue Sky
Why the Sky is Blue
(scroll down the webpage to this section)
Blue Sky and Red Sunsets
3. List three advantages of reflecting telescopes over refracting telescopes.

4. What and where are the largest optical telescopes in use today?

Suggested Links:

Reflector Telescopes
Characteristics, advantages and disadvantages of reflector telescopes.
Refractor Telescopes
Characteristics, advantages and disadvantages of refractor telescopes.
"I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me." 
   Isaac Newton
WINNER ACTIVITY:
"IDEAS FOR EDUCATORS"
SPRING 2004