Download A History of Light & Colour Measurement: Science in the by Sean F. Johnston PDF

By Sean F. Johnston

ISBN-10: 0750307544

ISBN-13: 9780750307543

It is a heritage of the hidden workings of actual technological know-how - a technical endeavour embedded in a social context. It argues that this 'undisciplined' topic, straddling academia, trade and law, could be usual not just of twentieth century technological know-how, yet of its destiny.

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Example text

The first of these was in promulgating a standard. By adopting Pogson's scale of magnitude, and choosing Polaris as the reference star against which all others would be compared, he defined a photometric scale that other workers found straightforward to accept. Second, Pickering established a reliable technique. Working with the firm of Alvan Clark & Sons, he devised new types of visual photometer adapted for telescopic use. By means of adjustable mirrors, his 'meridian photometers' combined an image of Polaris with the target star as it crossed the meridian2'.

A handful of investigators developed reasons to measure light, and means to do so. But several factors limited their interest. The uncertain nature of the visual process, inherent complexities in visual photometry, dearth of theories to drive experimental verifications, and abundant problems amenable to non-quantitative methods, all kept photometry in the background until the second half of the 19th century. Indeed, Airy's 1858 eclipse--occurring mid-day, in mid-month, mid-century and in the middle of England-was not merely a transitory spectacle; it marked a threshold for the emerging self-realization of the subject.

A handful of investigators developed reasons to measure light, and means to do so. But several factors limited their interest. The uncertain nature of the visual process, inherent complexities in visual photometry, dearth of theories to drive experimental verifications, and abundant problems amenable to non-quantitative methods, all kept photometry in the background until the second half of the 19th century. Indeed, Airy's 1858 eclipse--occurring mid-day, in mid-month, mid-century and in the middle of England-was not merely a transitory spectacle; it marked a threshold for the emerging self-realization of the subject.

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