Lectures on Light: Delivered in the United States in 1872-'73

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D. Appleton, 1873 - Light - 194 pages
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Page 123 - But the phenomena become more numerous, more various, more strange; no matter: the Theory is equal to them all. It makes not a single new physical hypothesis; but out of its original stock of principles it educes the counterpart of all that observation shows. It accounts for, explains, simplifies, the most entangled cases; corrects known laws and facts; predicts and discloses unknown ones ; becomes the guide of its former teacher, Observation; and, enlightened by mechanical conceptions, acquires...
Page 39 - Arago had been given to the world, that "his chief objection to the undulatory theory of light was that he could not think the Creator guilty of so clumsy a contrivance as the filling of space with ether in order to produce light.
Page 180 - ... without a parallel elsewhere: and this willingness requires but wise direction to enable you effectually to wipe away the reproach of De Tocqueville. Your most difficult problem will be not to build institutions, but to discover men. You may erect laboratories and endow them; you may furnish them with all the appliances needed for enquiry ; in so doing you are but creating opportunity for the exercise of powers which come from sources entirely beyond your reach. You cannot create genius by bidding...
Page 175 - Few persons comprehend the real origin of the marvels of industry and the wealth of nations. I need no other proof of this than the employment more and more frequent in lectures and speeches, in official language, and in writings of all sorts, of the erroneous expression applied science.
Page 35 - I do not mean a riotous power which deals capriciously with facts, but a well ordered and disciplined power, whose sole function is to form conceptions which the intellect imperatively demands. Imagination thus exercised never really severs itself from the world of fact. This is the storehouse from which all its pictures are drawn ; and the magic of its art consists, not in creating things anew, but in so changing the magnitude, position, and other relations of sensible things, as to render them...
Page 42 - ... had the misfortune to be too much -in advance of his age. He excited the wonder of his contemporaries, who, however, were unable to follow him to the heights at which his daring intellect was accustomed to soar. His most important ideas lay, therefore, buried and forgotten in the folios of the Royal Society, until a new generation gradually and painfully made the same discoveries, and proved the exactness of his assertions and the truth of his demonstrations.
Page 43 - For twenty years this man of genius was quenched — hidden from the appreciative intellect of his countrymen — deemed in fact a dreamer, through the vigorous sarcasm of a writer who had then possession of the public ear, and who in the Edinburgh Review poured ridicule upon Young and his speculations. To the celebrated Frenchmen Fresnel and Arago he was first indebted for the restitution of his rights ; for they, especially Fresnel, remade independently, as Helmholtz says, and vastly extended his...
Page 14 - I will take no steps at all," said Mrs. Tryon, " further than asking him to moor his ship opposite some other widow's house. But how has he managed to do it ? My old man used to say, when talking of gunnery, that the angle of incidence was equal to the angle of reflection. So I should have supposed that when he had once poked his yard-arm through my window, he could have taken it out again, without pulling half the wall down. I see, this is your Irish seamanship.
Page 169 - has not only experience, but knowledge. He, however, does not care for science as a pleasure, and only embraces it with avidity when it leads to useful applications.
Page 171 - Still without this, as surely as the stream dwindles when the spring dries, so surely will " technical education " lose all force of growth, all power of reproduction. Our great investigators have given us sufficient work for a time; but, if their spirit die out, we shall find ourselves eventually in the condition of those Chinese mentioned by De Tocqueville, who, having...

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