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Paper, 'On the intensity of light reflected from certain surfaces at nearly perpendicular incidence' by Lord Rayleigh [John William Strutt]

Reference number: PP/9/8

Date: 1886

Description

Strutt writes: 'In the present communication I propose to give an account of a photometric arrangement presenting some novel features, and of some results found by means of it for the reflecting power of glass and silver surfaces. My attention was drawn to the subject by an able paper of Professor [Ogden N] Rood, who, in giving some results of a photometric method, comments upon the lack of attention bestowed by experimentalists upon the verification, or otherwise, of Fresnel’s formulae for the reflection of light at the bounding surfaces of transparent media. It is true that polarimetric observations have been made of the ratio of the intensities with which the two polarised components are reflected; but even if we suppose (as is hardly the case) that these measurements are altogether confirmatory of Fresnel’s formulae, the question remains open as to whether the actual intensity of each component is adequately represented. This doubt would be set at rest, were it shown that Young’s formulae for perpendicular incidence (to which Fresnel’s reduce), viz, (μ ‒ 1/μ + 1)2, agrees with experiment. Professor Rood’s observations relate to the effect of a plate of glass when interposed in the course of the light. He measures, in fact, the transmission of light by the plate, and not directly the reflection. No one is in a better position than myself for appreciating the advantages of this course from the point of view of experiment. In the first place, the incidence can easily be made strictly perpendicular, in which case no question arises of a separate treatment of the two polarised components of ordinary light. And, what is much more important, the interposition of the plate leaves the course of the light unchanged, and thus allows the alteration of intensity to be determined in an accurate manner with the simplest arrangements.'

Annotations in pencil and ink.

Subject: Physics / Optics

Received 6 October 1886. Read 18 November 1886.

A version of this paper was published in volume 41 of the Proceedings of the Royal Society as 'On the intensity of light reflected from certain surfaces at nearly perpendicular incidence'.

Reference number
PP/9/8
Earliest possible date
1886
Physical description
Ink and graphite pencil on paper
Page extent
74 pages
Format
Manuscript

Creator name

John William Strutt

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Citation

John William Strutt, Paper, 'On the intensity of light reflected from certain surfaces at nearly perpendicular incidence' by Lord Rayleigh [John William Strutt], 1886, PP/9/8, The Royal Society Archives, London, https://makingscience.royalsociety.org/items/pp_9_8/paper-on-the-intensity-of-light-reflected-from-certain-surfaces-at-nearly-perpendicular-incidence-by-lord-rayleigh-john-william-strutt, accessed on 21 July 2024

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  • Proceedings Papers

    Dates: 1882 - 1894

    The archival collection known as 'Proceedings Papers' is comprised of manuscripts and occasional proofs of scientific papers sent to the Royal Society which were read before meetings of Fellows and printed in full in the Proceedings of the Royal Society.

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