Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 61.djvu/476

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
470
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

at a further distance of about ten or twelve feet. If at that distance you intercept this light with a sheet of white paper, you will see the colours converted into whiteness again by being mingled. But it is requisite, that the prism and lens be placed steady, and that the paper on which the colours are cast be moved to and fro; for by such motion, you will not only find at what distance the whiteness is most perfect, but also see how the colours gradually convene, and vanish into whiteness, and afterwards having crossed one another in that place where they compound whiteness, are again dissipated and severed, and in an inverted order retain the same colours which they had before they entered the composition. You may also see, that if any of the colours at the lens be intercepted, the whiteness will be changed into the other colours. And therefore that the composition of whiteness be perfect, care must be taken that none of the colours fall beside the lens.

In the annexed design of this experiment, ABC expresses the prism set endwise to sight, fig. 14, pi. 14, close by the hole F of the window EG. Its vertical angle ACB may conveniently be about 60 degrees: MIST designs the lens. Its breadth 212 or 3 inches. SF one of the straight lines, in which difform rays may be conceived to flow successively from the sun. FP and FR, two of those rays unequally refracted, which the lens makes to converge towards Q, and after decussation to diverge again. And HI the paper, at divers distances, on which the colours are projected; which in Q constitute whiteness, but are red and yellow in R, r, and ρ, and blue and purple in P, p, and π.

PSM V61 D476 Issac newton concept of light frangibility.png

Fig. 2. Figure 14, Plate 14, of the Original.

If you proceed further to try the impossibility of changing any uncompounded colour, (which I have asserted in the 3d and 13th propositions) it is requisite that the room be made very dark, least any scattering light mixing with the colour disturb and allay it, and render it compound, contrary to the design of the experiment. It is also requisite, that there be a perfecter separation of the colours than, after the manner above described, can be made by the refraction of one single prism, and how to make such further separations, will scarcely be difficult to them that consider the discovered laws of re-