Bending a light on Refraction

Have you ever observed an image appearing on the little droplets of water, or spoon that appears broken when it is kept

Pencil Water


in the jar of water vertically? Such type of phenomena’s is visible to the person on a daily basis but very few people pause for a second to think about these magnificent play of nature. The broken spoon or an image on a drop of water is not an illusion of perception or carelessness of eyesight; these are beautiful portrayal of light and its properties working and interacting with different objects and this phenomena is scientifically described as Refraction.

Scientific delimitation of it says, the change in direction of light due to change in its medium. The observation that is so profound that it has gripped the imagination of humans since ages, refraction of light is a well studied, experimented, observed and understood phenomena of the nature.

Understanding Refraction through a prism:

Dispersion of light through the prism is one of the most pleasing and a magnificent phenomenon of light, the colors it refracts when it passes through prism gives an amazing kind understanding of the white light and its properties. It clearly explains:

  • That white is actually not white; rather it contains different wavelengths of different frequencies and colors and all of them are dispersed when the light enters the prism.
  • The blue color has the shortest wavelength.
  • Orange and red colors have the largest wavelength in the white light.
  • Light bends at different angles when it enters the prism and it is released out in a scattered form, more like a rainbow.

Refraction of waves:

The speed of light changes when it moves from one object to another, its frequency changes, and the speed of light is different in glass than in air and the same principle is applied to the wavelength of the light. When the speed of the light changes depending upon its interface; the wavelength of the light changes with it. The change in the wavelength can be observed very evidently when light changes the direction and when it enters another medium, the changes in the frequencies of the wavelength can be observed with the change in the speed of light. This is a beautiful reflection of light and its waves when they enter or interacts with the objects. It is the bending of the light and the phenomena of refraction that gives the diamond its sparkle.

The person who revolutionized the thinking about refraction of light:

At the start of 16th century, the Dutch genius named Willebrord Snell, observed and understood the different angles of light, as they travel from one medium to another. Based on his observation he formulated his understanding that later became Laws of Refraction, in later that century a brilliant British physician named Isaac Newton came into limelight with his understanding of gravity but that was not his only achievement.

The legendary physicist is also known for his landmark efforts in understanding the properties of light and how it behaveswhen it interacts with the prism. The foundation of what the scientist is experimenting today was laid down in sixteenth century by these elite gentlemen.

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