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The Bakerian Lecture. Experiments and Calculations relative to physical Optics. Read November 24, 1803.


London, W. Bulmer and Co., 1804. 4to. No wrappers as extracted from "Philosophical Transactions" 1804 - Part I. Pp. 1-16. With titlepage to the volume, Part I. Light browning to titlepage, otherwise fine. ¶ First appearance of this groundbreaking paper giving the first really convincing evidence that the fringes are produced by interference of light waves, and giving the experimental demonstrations of the general law of Interference.This importent demonstration served as the experimental basis for the wave hypothesis of light. - In his two preceeding papers "On the Theory of Light and Colours", 1802 and "An account of Some Cases of the Production of Colours not hitherto described", 1802 - he only partially announced his principle of Interference, and the statement of it in "An Account..." was entirely hypothetical and not experimental. (Magie. Source Book in Physics gives extracts of this paper and a later paper under the head: Discovery of the interference of light, pp.308-15).
Young also shows in this paper that diffraction effects can be explained by the interference law.

"The experimental basis for the wave hypothesis of light as Young formulated it was interference. The fact has already been observed that two trauins of water waves may be so superposed that in certain regions the throughs of one train will lie continuously on the crests of another, thereby producing zero disturbance...Destryctive interference is said to occur between the two trains of waves in the former case and constructivee interference in lthe latter. Similarly, two sound waves may be so combined as to produce alternate regions of silence and enhanced sound. The phenomenon of interference, of which the forgoing are familiar examples, is easely comprehensible in the case of combining waves, but would be utterly incomprehensible in the case of combining streams of particles. So when Young demonstrated in 1803 (in the paper offered here) that two beams of light could, under properly controlled conditions be made to combine in such a way as to produce alternate regions of darkness and light, he was rightly considered to have identified in light a characteristic property of waves." (Lloyd Taylor in: Physics. The Pioneer Science. p. 511).
Of the three papers published in the years 1802-04 this paper is the most importent as it gives the experimental demonstrations of the interference of light. (Dibner in Herlalds of Science No. 151 list the first paper, so does PMM: 259).

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