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Concepts in Physics

March 8, 2016 | Author: | Posted in life sciences, physics

Philosopher Gernot Btzhme once remarked : Because of his polemic against Newton , Goethe ‘s theory of colours represents a scandalous episode in the history of science . The reaction today is formulated How could a mind so great , so all encompassing , be so wrong (Btzhme 1987 , 28

If Goethe was wrong then he failed to complete the most important task of his life . He once himself said : . in my century I am the only person who knows the truth in the difficult science of colours (Goethe 1970 , 267

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the subject of their discrepancy now after so much time had passed and science insists on having correct and tested answers on the problem of colour ? And how could art help us in revealing the nature of colour ? The task of this essay is to explore this issue and try to come to a clearer vision of the problem

Isaac Newton (1642-1727 ) carried out an extensive research into the properties of light . After experiments Newton established that white light is a mixture of different colours . He found that a beam of white light passing through a prism was split into beams of different colours Red light is followed by orange , yellow , green , blue indigo and violet light . This was the initial brick in what became a thorough theory augmented later by explanation of light as composed of electromagnetic waves which human eye sees . The colours in what was called a spectrum were seen as a sequence of electromagnetic waves with different wavelengths

The criticism of Newtonian physics of colour was made by the German thinker Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832 . In studying phenomena Goethe aimed to perceive ideas behind them without making hypotheses Therefore Goethe ‘s way of looking at the world is different from classical physics . For him , identical laws acted in nature and in art the senses of human beings constituted the perfect physical apparatus and the fact that physics had separated experience from man was for Goethe the worst of evils . Goethe ‘s method is close to phenomenology which is a study of beginnings with an in-depth investigation of the phenomenon , which must be described as accurately as possible . Indeed Goethe`s aim was to make experience the basis for interpretation of subject studied . So Goethe took opposition to Newton and postulated – in contrast to Newton , for whom colours merely arise out of light – that colours were manifestations of tension between light and dark . In his colour theory empirical source was emphasized : Goethe claimed that if one conducts certain experiments he or she will discover the processes which produce colours . For Goethe such experiments show an essential aspect of human seeing : darkness produces in the eye inclination to light light , inclination to darkness . The eye “shows its vital energy its fitness to receive the impression of the object , precisely by spontaneously tending to an opposite state (Goethe 1970 , 159 ) Darkness diluted by light leads to the colours of blue , indigo , and violet light dimmed by darkness… [banner_entry_footer]

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