"Thomas Young's Lectures on Natural Philosophy and the Mechanical Arts" highlights the British physicist and physician's greatest contributions to science. Mostly remembered for his optical work, Thomas Young (1773-1829), initiated important paths of investigation which other scientists were later able to take up and complete. This classic work is based on a series of lectures delivered at the Royal Institution and covers virtually the whole of theoretical science and technology. First pubished in 1807 in two volumes and reprinted here in four volumes, "Lectures" is divided between four main subjects: mechanics and hydrodynamics (volume 1), physics (volume 2), and mathematics (volume 3), concluding with an historical overview of each. The fourth volume contains ten papers originally published in the "Philosophical Transactions" between 1793 and 1804, and are principally concerned with physiological optics.
Young's suggestions that the retina responds to three "principal colours" only, which combine to form all the other colours (the trichromatic colour theory), led the way for further investigation into a proper theory of vision by the great German physicist and visual psychologist, Hermann von Helmholtz, and is now referred to as the Young-Helmholtz theory of colour sensation. Young also established the wave theory of light, discovered the principle of light interference, and gave the first description of astigmatism. Young's advances in science are frequently cited in the contemporary visual science literature, but the scarcity of the "Lectures" means very few have the opportunity of reading Young's original work. Reprinted here in its original size and lavishly illustrated with engravings, including two hand-coloured, the Thoemmes Press edition of this work renders Young's insights accessible to modern scientists and historians of science.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC