Optics Milestones
Timeline of Optics Pioneers


Home Projects Experiments Warning!
300 BC: Reflection of light from smooth surfaces: Euclid (325-265 BC), Ancient Greek mathematician (Optica).
1021: Theory of Vision: vision takes place by light entering the eye and not vice versa: Alhazen (965 - 1040 AD), Persian Muslim scientist and polymath, (Book of Optics).
1284: Eyeglasses (disputed): Salvino D'Armate (12581312), Italian.
1550: Camera obscura with bi-convex lens: Girolamo Cardano (1501-1576), Italian mathematician and physician.
1590: Compound Microscope: Hans and Zacharias Janssen, Dutch spectacle-makers.
1608: Telescope: Hans Lippershey (1570-1619), Dutch eyeglass maker.
1621: Refractive index: Willebrord Snell (1580-1626), Dutch mathematician.
1668: Reflecting telescope: Isaac Newton (1642 - 1727), English physicist and mathematician.
1676: Single lens microscope: Antonie van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723), Dutch tradesman and scientist.
1704: Spectrum of light prism experiments: Isaac Newton (1642 - 1727), English physicist, mathematician.
1729: Achromatic Lens: Chester Moore Hall (1703 - 1771), British lawyer and inventor.
1750: Lighthouse lenses: Georges de Buffon (1707-1788), French naturalist and mathematician.
1804: Wave nature of light: double slit experiment: Thomas Young (1773 - 1829), English polymath.
1816: Kaleidoscope: David Brewster (1781-1868), Scottish physicist.
1823: Fresnel lens: Augustin-Jean Fresnel (1788-1827), French engineer.
1825: Astigmatism: correcting eyeglasses using cylindrical lens: George Biddell Airy (1801-1892), English mathematician and astronomer.
1839: Photovoltaic effect: Alexandre Becquerel (1820 - 1891), French physicist.
1840s: Lens production: Carl Zeiss (1816-1888), German maker of optical instruments.
1850: Speed of light measurement and demonstration that the velocity of light is a constant: Armand Hippolyte Fizeau (1819-1896), French physicist.
1861: Light as a form of electromagnetic radiation: Maxwell's equations: James Clerk Maxwell (1831 - 1879), Scottish physicist and mathematician.
1874: Refractometer: Ernst Abbe (1840 - 1905), German mathematician and physicist.
1884: Mechanical Television (Nipkow scanning disk): Paul Nipkow (1860-1940), German engineer and inventor.
1887: Photoelectric effect: Heinrich Hertz (1857 - 1894), German physicist.
1888: Hand-Held Camera: George Eastman (1854-1932), American inventor.
1899: Quantum theory of energy: exchange of energy between light and matter only occurs in discrete amounts - quanta: Max Planck (1858-1947), German physicist.
1925: Leica camera lens: Max Berek (1886-1949), German physicist and mathematician.
1938: Electron microscope: Ernst Ruska (1906-1988), German physician and biologist.


Optics Biographies (Opticists)
Michelson-Morley experiment proved the non-existence of ether
Pioneers in the Optical Sciences - National High Magnetic Field Laboratory
Timeline of Electromagnetism and Classical Optics - Wikipedia
An Anecdotal History of Optics - Taylor

Optics Timelines
Timeline in Optics - National High Magnetic Field Laboratory
Optics Timeline - Bilkent University

Science Fair Projects and Experiments
Optics Projects
Sun & Light Projects
Michelson-Morley: Detecting The Ether Wind Experiment
The Discovery of the Spectrum of Light
Light Energy Effects on Matter: Elementary School Experiments
Fiber Optics: Refraction & Total Internal Reflection

General Optics Resources
Color Theory - worqx.com
Optics for Kids I
OpticsForTeens - Optical Society of America (OSA)
Optics for Kids
Science, Optics and You - Florida State University
Atmospheric Optics

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