Descartes' experimental proof of the infinite velocity of light and huygens' rejoinder

  title={Descartes' experimental proof of the infinite velocity of light and huygens' rejoinder},
  author={Spyros Sakellariadis},
  journal={Archive for History of Exact Sciences},
  • S. Sakellariadis
  • Published 1 March 1982
  • Physics
  • Archive for History of Exact Sciences
In 1634 Descartes claimed that the discovery of a finite velocity of light, a single experimental datum, would refute his whole theory. Concerning the infinite velocity of light he writes, "it is so certain, that if one could prove it false, I am ready to confess that I know nothing in all of philosophy."1 Thus, when he learns of an experiment first done by Beeckman in 1629 which showed the velocity of light to be finite, he sets out to show Beeckman's result to be wrong, by pointing to more… 

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