30, 20, and 10 Years Ago in OPN

Hannah Greenwood

Christiaan Huygens; mysterious X-rays; optical communications.

Christiaan Huygens1992

“The publication of the Traité de la Lumière in 1690 by the Dutch physicist and mathematician Christiaan Huygens—300 years ago—may be considered the culmination of geometrical optics in the 17th century … To explain luminous phenomena, Huygens advanced in his treatise a wave theory of light (in opposition to Newton’s corpuscular theory). In particular, Huygens put forth a novel concept of light propagation, that of the wavefront. This concept is embodied in the so-called ‘Huygens’ principle,’ which has since become the most fundamental tenet of geometrical and physical optics.”

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