Article ID: CBB939681601

Revealing the Nature of the Final Image in Newton's Experimentum Crucis (2015)


In his crucial prism experiment, Newton noted the position of the final image, but not its shape or coloring. Most scholars describe the image as a single-colored representation of the selective aperture; some report multiple colors. When the experiment is re-enacted as the transformation of a camera obscura image, it becomes clear that the final image is a rainbow-colored representation of the outside world. Backward ray tracing enhances Newton's demonstration of diverse refrangibility. Using a projector, teachers can easily bring this historical experiment into the classroom and build a bridge to modern applications in hyperspectral imaging and spectral encoding.

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Authors & Contributors
Shapiro, Alan E.
Alessandro Stile
Skulberg, Emilie
da Bologna, Bartolomeo
Galli, Francesca
Sparre, Martin
Early Science and Medicine: A Journal for the Study of Science, Technology and Medicine in the Pre-modern Period
Perspectives on Science
Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences
Laboratorio dell'ISPF
Science and Education
Physics in Perspective
Guida Editori
Springer International Publishing
Viking Studio
SISMEL edizioni del Galluzzo
Camera obscuras
Experiments and experimentation
Science and art
Kepler, Johannes
Newton, Isaac
da Bologna, Bartolomeo
Young, James
Vermeer, Johannes
Scheiner, Christoph
Time Periods
17th century
20th century, late
Early modern

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