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- noun Plural form of
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Newton's “mathematical way” as the Principia: light is treated as a mathematical entity, as rays that can be represented by lines; the axioms with which he begins are the accepted laws of optics; and numbers — the different refrangibilities — serve as precise tags to distinguish the rays of different colors and to compare their behavior in reflection, refraction, and diffraction.
_ -- Chromatic aberration gives rise to a coloured fringe around the edges of objects due to the fact that the different-coloured rays of the spectrum possess varying refrangibilities and that a simple lens acts toward them as a prism.
The most distinctive faculty of reflectors, however, is that of bringing rays of all refrangibilities to a focus together.
White light, with all its constituents complete, sent through such flames, would, he inferred, have those precise constituents absorbed, whose refrangibilities are the same as those of the bright bands; so that after passing through such flames, the white light, if sufficiently intense, would have its spectrum furrowed by bands of darkness.
If we employ colours of intermediate refrangibilities, which we may do by causing the different colours of a spectrum to shine through the slit, we obtain bands of colour intermediate in width, and occupying intermediate positions, between those of the red and blue.
Hence this exposition most elegantly proves and illustrates the doctrine of Sir Isaac Newton, on the seven different rays of light, and their different refrangibilities and reflexibilities.
And it is because this so vivid popular science has its issue from this 'source' -- it is because it proceeds from this scientific centre, on the scientific radii, through all the divergencies and refrangibilities of the universal beam -- it is because all this inexhaustible multiplicity and variety of particulars is threaded with the fibre of the universal science -- it is because all these thick-flowering imaginations, these 'mellow hangings,' are hung upon the stems and branches that unite in the trunk of the _prima philosophia_ -- it is because of this that men find it so prophetic, so inclusive, so magical; _this_ is the reason they find _all_ in it.