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Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

Never Thought of That

So, I was listening to an old Radio lab episode the other day about color. Most people nowadays know how when sunlight passes through a prism it makes a rainbow. But the Radio Lab episode talked about how before Isaac Newton, everyone thought that it was the prism that was somehow affecting or coloring the light... that the prism did something to the light. But once Newton had a rainbow from sunlight through a prism, he put a second prism in the blue light (from the prism) and saw that the prism had no affect on the blue light. So he inferred that the prism was "splitting" the white light.

The thing about this that struck me the most was the fact that prior to this, people just assumed that the prism was doing something to the light. To most people nowadays, that thought would never occur to them. But back in Isaac Newton's time, they just didn't know.

So I thought, wow... I wonder how many things are like that now. Where we think one thing is happening but years from now someone will discover it's completely not what we thought (or no what we think now) and they'll think it quaint that we thought of it in this way.

I mean, it could be anything! So we had a good little dinner conversation about that.

Which happened right after Jonas made a joke about yoctometers. And that (not the joke, just the fact that he was making a joke about yoctometers), I found hysterical. How many people have 10-year-old kids that think it's funny to make jokes about yoctometers???


2 Comments
billpearch
Yoctometer? Yeah, I had to look that up.
Bill Pearch   Thursday, April 9, 2015
You are a big nerd. I love it!
Jen Proft   Friday, May 8, 2015
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