Ptolemy's search for a law of refraction: A case-study in the classical methodology of “saving the appearances” and its limitations

@article{Smith1982PtolemysSF,
  title={Ptolemy's search for a law of refraction: A case-study in the classical methodology of “saving the appearances” and its limitations},
  author={Adrian F. M. Smith},
  journal={Archive for History of Exact Sciences},
  year={1982},
  volume={26},
  pages={221-240}
}
It is generally accepted that, after an auspicious beginning with Euclid's formulation of the ray-concept and an equally auspicious sequel, during which both optics proper and catoptrics were put on a firm scientific footing, the early development of mathematical optics was cut short by Ptolemy's failure to find the sine-law of refraction.1 This failure, which apparently stemmed the growth of mathematical optics for some fifteen centuries, has long puzzled historians of science. We know for a… 

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Thomas Harriot’s optics, between experiment and imagination: the case of Mr Bulkeley’s glass

  • R. Goulding
  • History
    Archive for History of Exact Sciences
  • 2013
Some time in the late 1590s, the Welsh amateur mathematician John Bulkeley wrote to Thomas Harriot asking his opinion about the properties of a truly gargantuan (but totally imaginary)

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