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The Rise of the Wave Theory of Light

Optical Theory and Experiment in the Early Nineteenth Century

"No one interested in the history of optics, the history of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century physics, or the general phenomenon of theory change in science can afford to ignore Jed Buchwald’s well-structured, highly detailed, and scrupulously researched book. . . . Buchwald’s analysis will surely constitute the essential starting point for further work on this important and hitherto relatively neglected episode of theory change."—John Worrall, Isis

498 pages | 116 line drawings | 6.00 x 9.00 | © 1989

History of Science

Table of Contents

Part 1 - Selectionism
1. The Optical Ray
2. The Concept of Polarization
3. Arago and the Discovery of Chromatic Polarization
4. Mobile Polarization
Part 2 - Fresnel, Diffraction, and Polarization
5. Fresnel’s Ray Theory of Diffraction
6. Huygen’s Principle and the Wave Theory
7. The Puzzle of Polarization
8. Transverse Waves
Part 3 - Controversy and Unification
9. A Case of Mutual Misunderstanding
10. Selectionists and Polarization after 1815
11. Fresnel’s Final Unification
12. The Emerging Dominance of the Wave Theory
Name Index
Subject Index

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