# Timeline of electromagnetism and classical optics

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**Timeline of electromagnetism and classical optics**

- 130 — Claudius Ptolemy tabulates angles of refraction for several media,
- 1269 — Pélerin de Maricourt describes magnetic poles and remarks on the nonexistence of isolated magnetic poles,
- 1305 — Dietrich von Freiberg uses crystalline spheres and flasks filled with water to study the reflection and refraction in raindrops that leads to primary and secondary rainbows,
- 1604 — Johannes Kepler describes how the eye focuses light,
- 1604 — Johann Kepler specifies the laws of the rectilinear propagation of the light,
- 1611 — Marko Dominis discusses the rainbow in
*De Radiis Visus et Lucis*, - 1611 — Johannes Kepler discovers total internal reflection, a small angle refraction law, and thin lens optics,
- 1621 — Willebrord van Roijen Snell states his Snell's law of refraction,
- 1630 — Cabaeus found that there are two types of electric charges
- 1637 — René Descartes quantitatively derives the angles at which primary and secondary rainbows are seen with respect to the angle of the Sun's elevation,
- 1657 — Pierre de Fermat introduces the principle of least time into optics,
- 1665 — Francesco Maria Grimaldi highlights the phenomenon of diffraction
- 1673 — Ignace Pardies provides a wave explanation for refraction of light
- 1675 — Isaac Newton delivers his theory of light
- 1676 — Olaus Roemer measures the speed of light by observing Jupiter's moons
- 1678 — Christian Huygens states his principle of wavefront sources,
- 1704 — Isaac Newton publishes
*Opticks*, a corpuscular theory of light and colour, - 1728 — James Bradley discovers the aberration of starlight and uses it to determine that the speed of light is about 283,000 km/s,
- 1746 — Leonhard Euler develops the wave theory of light refraction and dispersion
- 1752 — Benjamin Franklin shows that lightning is electricity,
- 1767 — Joseph Priestley proposes an electrical inverse-square law,
- 1785 — Charles Coulomb introduces the inverse-square law of electrostatics,
- 1786 — Luigi Galvani discovers "animal electricity" and postulates that animal bodies are storehouses of electricity,
- 1800 — William Herschel discovers infrared radiation from the Sun
- 1801 — Johann Ritter discovers ultraviolet radiation from the Sun,
- 1801 — Thomas Young demonstrates the wave nature of light and the principle of interference,
- 1802 — Gian Domenico Romagnosi notes that a nearby voltaic pile deflects a magnetic needle. His account is largely overlooked.
- 1808 — Etienne-Louis Malus discovers polarization by reflection,
- 1809 — Etienne-Louis Malus publishes the law of Malus which predicts the light intensity transmitted by two polarizing sheets,
- 1811 — François Jean Dominique Arago discovers that some quartz crystals will continuously rotate the electric vector of light,
- 1816 — David Brewster discovers stress birefringence,
- 1818 — Simeon Poisson predicts the Poisson-Arago bright spot at the center of the shadow of a circular opaque obstacle,
- 1818 — François Jean Dominique Arago verifies the existence of the Poisson-Arago bright spot,
- 1820 — Hans Christian Ørsted notices that a current in a wire can deflect a compass needle,
- 1825 — Augustin Fresnel phenomenologically explains optical activity by introducing circular birefringence,
- 1826 — Georg Simon Ohm states his Ohm's law of electrical resistance,
- 1831 — Michael Faraday states his law of induction,
- 1833 — Heinrich Lenz states that an induced current in a closed conducting loop will appear in such a direction that it opposes the change that produced it (Lenz's law),
- 1845 — Michael Faraday discovers that light propagation in a material can be influenced by external magnetic fields,
- 1849 — Hippolyte Fizeau and Jean-Bernard Foucault measure the speed of light to be about 298,000 km/s,
- 1852 — George Gabriel Stokes defines the Stokes parameters of polarization,
- 1864 — James Clerk Maxwell publishes his papers on a dynamical theory of the electromagnetic field,
- 1871 — Lord Rayleigh discusses the blue sky law and sunsets (Rayleigh scattering),
- 1873 — James Clerk Maxwell states that light is an electromagnetic phenomenon,
- 1875 — John Kerr discovers the electrically induced birefringence of some liquids,
- 1879 — Jožef Stefan discovers the Stefan-Boltzmann radiation law of a black body and uses it to calculate the first sensible value of the temperature of a Sun's surface to be 5700 K,
- 1888 — Heinrich Rudolf Hertz discovers radio waves,
- 1895 — Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovers X-rays,
- 1896 — Arnold Sommerfeld solves the half-plane diffraction problem
- 1905 — Albert Einstein demonstrates that Maxwell's Equations are not required to describe electromagnetic radiation if Special Relativity is taken into account
- 1919 — Albert Michelson makes the first interferometric measurements of stellar diameters at Mount Wilson Observatory (see history of astronomical interferometry)
- 1946 — Martin Ryle and Vonberg build the first two-element astronomical radio interferometer (see history of astronomical interferometry)
- 1953 — Charles H. Townes, James P. Gordon, and Herbert J. Zeiger produce the first maser.
- 1956 — R. Hanbury-Brown and R.Q. Twiss complete the correlation interferometer.
- 1960 — Theodore Maiman produces the first working laser.
- 1999 — M. Henny et al demonstrate the Fermionic Hanbury Brown and Twiss Experiment