Newton's Philosophy of Nature: Selections from His Writings

By H. S. Thayer; Isaac Newton | Go to book overview
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V. Questions from the Opticsa

. . . I shall conclude with proposing only some Queries, in order to a further search to be made by others.

Query 1. Do not bodies act upon light at a distance, and by their action bend its rays; and is not this action (ceteris paribus) strongest at the least distance?

Qu. 2. Do not the rays which differ in refrangibility differ also in flexibility; and are they not by their different inflections separated from one another, so as after separation to make the colors in the three fringes above described? And after what manner are they inflected to make those fringes?

Qu. 3. Are not the rays of light, in passing by the edges and sides of bodies, bent several times backward and forward, with a motion like that of an eel? And do not the three fringes of colored light above mentioned arise from three such bendings?

Qu. 4. Do not the rays of light which fall upon bodies and are reflected or refracted begin to bend before they arrive at the bodies; and are they not reflected, refracted, and inflected by one and the same principle, acting variously in various circumstances?

Qu. 5. Do not bodies and light act mutually upon one another; that is to say, bodies upon light in emitting, reflecting, refracting and inflecting it, and light upon bodies for heating them and putting their parts into a vibrating motion wherein heat consists?

Qu. 6. Do not black bodies conceive heat more easily from light than those of other colors do, by reason that the light falling on them is not reflected outward but enters the bodies, and is often reflected and refracted within them, until it be stifled and lost?

Qu. 7. Is not the strength and vigor of the action between light and sulphureous bodies observed above one reason why sul

[ Opticks: or, a Treatise of the Reflections, Refractions, Inflections, and Colours of Light ( 4th ed., corrected, London, 1730), Bk. III, pp. 313-82. See Note 14, p. 201.]


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