Superphysics
Part 2b

Refraction2

4 minutes  • 736 words

Determining refraction quantity depends on the particular nature of the bodies in which they occur.

Therefore it requires experimentation,. But it can still be done with certainty and ease, now that they are all reduced to a single measure.

By examining a single ray you can know all the refractions that occur in a given surface.

One can avoid all error by examining them further in a few other cases.

We want to know the quantity of refractions that occur in the surface `CBR` which separates the air `AKP` from the glass `LIS`.

We have only to test it in that of the ray `ABI`, by seeking the proportion that is between the lines `AH` and `IG`.

Then, if we fear to have erred in this experiment, we test it again in a few other rays, such as `KBL` or `PRS`. We find the same proportion of `KM` to `LN`, and of `PQ` to `ST`, as of `AH` to `IG`.

You will find that the rays of light are inclined more in air than in water, on the surfaces where they are refracted, and even more in water than in glass, contrary to a ball which is inclined more in water than in air and cannot pass through glass at all.

For example, if a ball is pushed through the air from `A` to `B` and encounters the surface of the water `CBE` at point `B`, it will be deflected from `B` to `V`.

However, if it is a ray of light, it will go from `B` to `I`, which you may find strange if you remember the nature of light that I have described, that it is nothing but a certain movement or action received in a very subtle matter that fills the pores of other bodies.

A ball:

• loses more of its agitation when it hits a soft body than a hard one
• rolls less easily on a carpet than on a bare table

Likewise, the action of the fire-aether:

• can be much more hindered by the air particles, which are soft and poorly joined, than by those of water, which make more resistance
• can even be more hindered by those of water than by those of glass or crystal.

Therefore, the smaller particles of a transparent body are harder and firmer. The more easily they allow light to pass through, because this light does not need to displace any of them from their places, unlike a ball that must displace those of the water to find passage among them.

Moreover, * knowing thus the cause of the refractions that occur in water and glass, and commonly in all other transparent bodies around us, one can remark that they must be all similar, when the rays exit from these bodies and when they enter them.

The ray that comes from `A` to `B` is deflected from `B` to `I` as it passes from air into glass.

The ray that returns from `I` to `B` must also be deflected from `B` to `A`.

It is possible to find other bodies, mainly in the sky, where the refractions, proceeding from other causes, are not thus reciprocal.

And it is also possible to find certain cases where the rays must bend, even though they pass through only a single transparent body, just as a ball curves under the influence of the wind, because it is deflected towards one side by its weight and towards another by the action that propels it, or for various other reasons.

The 3 comparisons I have just used are so appropriate that all the particularities that can be observed in them relate to others that are equally similar in light.

The curved surfaces of transparent bodies deflect the rays that pass through each of their points, in the same way that flat surfaces, which one can imagine touching these bodies at the same points*, would do.

*The tangent planes at the point of impact.

For example, the refraction of the rays `AB`, `AC`, `AD`, which come from the flame A and fall on the curved surface of the crystal ball `BCD`, must be considered in the same way as if `AB` fell on the flat surface `EBF`, and `AC` on `GCH`, and `AD` on `IDK`, and so on for the others.

Figure # 15

These rays can converge or diverge in various ways, depending on the curved surfaces that they fall on.

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