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Chapter 21:
Young and the Rosetta Stone
At the end of the Eighteenth Century, there was Still considerable uncertainty as to whether the wave theory or the corpuscular theory of light best accounted for the observed phenomena. In 1801, Thomas Young presented experimental evidence that light is subject to superposition (or interference) which suggested that “Light is probably the undulation of an elastic medium.” This hardly put the matter to rest, as we shall see. Moreover, the resulting controversy brought so much turmoil into Young’s life that he tended to avoid further research regarding the nature of light. However, his genius was not extinguished. Let us examine some of the details of his life.
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