In the Seventeenth Century, all branches of science, including optics, showed a remarkable development. It was largely a period which science was placed on new foundations as the sterile tradition under which science had languished was destroyed. From the publication of Gilbert’s De magnete in 1600 to Newton’s Principia in 1687, the face of science changed almost beyond recognition.
Scientific societies were formed, many with support from the government or with aristocratic patronage. Newton's "experimental physics" now spread from England and Holland to the rest of Europe, resulting in spectacular advances in the study of electricity, magnetism, chemistry, and geology - as well as mechanics and optics.
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