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Chapter 14:
The Discovery of Invisible Light
Abstract
Science, by the end of the Eighteenth Century, was making remarkable progress. Nevertheless, as investigations opened one door to provide a glimpse of physical reality, other doors were exposed to present a conflicting interpretation of the significance of the vista pieced together from this complexity of views. Certainly, this was true of the search to understand the nature of light. While Plato’s ocular beams were no longer considered a reasonable hypothesis, light was considered by some to be the transmission of small particles—of corpuscles—while others advocated some sort of wave motion. In either event, light was responsible for vision and thus was correlated with this sensory response. One could hardly conceive at the end of the eighteenth century of invisible light. But in the year 1800 such was reported, leading to a new comprehension of light itself.
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CHAPTER 14
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