Curiosities of Light and Sight

Curiosities of Light and Sight

Shelford Bidwell

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  • EAN: 9780599304079
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The sensation of light results from the action of ether waves upon the organism of the eye, but the old belief that the sensation was primarily due to a series of mere mechanical impulses or beats, just as that of sound results from the mechanical impact of air-waves upon the[Pg 8] drum of the ear, cannot any longer be upheld. The essential nature of the action exerted by ether waves is still undetermined, though many guesses at the truth have been hazarded. It may be electrical or it may be chemical; possibly it is both. Ether-waves, we know, are competent to bring about chemical changes, as in the familiar instance of the photographic processes; they can also produce electric phenomena, as, for example, when they fall upon a suitably prepared piece of selenium; but there is no evidence that they can exert any direct mechanical action of a vibratory character, and indeed it is barely conceivable that any portion of our organism should be adapted to take up vibrations of such enormous rapidity as those which characterise light-waves.
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