Prof. J Roy Sambles, University of Exeter
Three of the greatest Western Physical scientists ever known, Isaac Newton, Thomas
Young and Albert Einstein were much distracted by the question ‘What exactly is
light’. Newton rhetorically asks ‘Are not the rays of light very small bodies emitting
from shining substances?’ He had essentially developed a corpuscular or particle
theory of light, coming to this conclusion partly from the observation that light is
split into two beams by certain transparent crystals. Some 100 years later Thomas
Young, undertook his famous experiment ‘Young’s double slit’, regard-ed as perhaps
the simplest and one of the most convincing proofs of the wave character of light.
Another 100 years go by before Albert Einstein, in explaining the photoelectric
effect, utilised the essence of a quantum (particle) theory of light. But who is
actually correct? All are. Light illustrates the extraordinary wave-particle duality
of the Universe. Newton, Young and Einstein were all right to some measure. This
demonstration lecture will explore light and some of the disturbing aspects of waveparticle
Lectures held at 7.30pm in the Berrill Lecture Theatre, Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA. For further information contact Prof. Ray Mackintosh (email firstname.lastname@example.org). No need to register.