Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-5d59c44645-l48q4 Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-02-28T12:55:28.663Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false
This chapter is part of a book that is no longer available to purchase from Cambridge Core

9 - Tyndall and Stokes: Correspondence, Referee Reports and the Physical Sciences in Victorian Britain

from Part III - Communicating Science

Melinda Baldwin
Affiliation:
Harvard University
Bernard Lightman
Affiliation:
York University
Michael S. Reidy
Affiliation:
Montana State University
Get access

Summary

One foggy evening in Switzerland in September 1883, John Tyndall noticed an odd phenomenon. As he described it in a letter:

On opening the door a night or two ago to inspect the weather, I found the air filled with fog & drizzle. Behind me was a passage in which stood a bright lamp. On looking out into the darkness … [m]y shadow was projected darkly upon the fog, and round the shadow, at some distance, was a circle surprisingly bright and definite. The circle was thrown up or down, or shifted laterally, by changing the position of the lamp. It was extremely amusing to walk out into the fog and to find oneself accompanied, or rather preceded, by this saintly halo.

Tyndall tested the ‘halo’ phenomenon by bringing the lamp outside the door, replacing the lamp with a candle, and using a light in a room that he had filled with artificial fumes. He then put pen to paper and sent his observations to a friend he thought might be interested: George Gabriel Stokes.

We might be surprised to see Tyndall corresponding with Stokes in this informal and friendly manner. Although both were Irish-born physicists, in background, temperament, religious views and especially scientific affiliations, they had little in common.

Type
Chapter
Information
The Age of Scientific Naturalism
Tyndall and his Contemporaries
, pp. 171 - 186
Publisher: Pickering & Chatto
First published in: 2014

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×