Six Experiments That Changed The World is a Scientific Documentary programme.
Six Experiments That Changed The World
The stories of six people who thought 'outside the box' and changed our understanding of the world we live in - Galileo, Newton, Mendel, Faraday, Curie and Einstein.
Actor, comedian and science fanatic Ken Campbell recreates their original experiments - in his garden shed.
In "Newton and the Prism" Newton conceived many of the principles that underpin our
understanding of modern science. Ken Campbell looks at an experiment with a prism that revealed the true nature of light.
Before Newton turned his attention to the subject, ideas about light had remained pretty static since Aristotle. It was believed that the phenomenon of white light turning into a rainbow after passing through a prism was the result of the glass somehow changing or 'modifying' the light beam.
Newton declared, following his series of experiments in 1665 and 1666, that the white light beam was made up of seven distinct types of moving particle, each with distinct properties that couldn't be 'modified'. What the prism did was to reveal the separate rays to us by causing them to bend - each at a different angle. He used his findings to construct the first ever reflecting telescope.
While the response to his findings was lukewarm at the time, Newton's theory has since become the foundation of the science of physical optics.
Genre: Scientific Documentary
Running Time: 30 minutes (approx)
Database last updated: 19 March - 17:50