Prisms in Physics

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Prisms play a very important role in both physics and in science in general. Find out about prisms in physics with help from a research scientist and one of the world's leading experts on star formation in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Physics & Science Lessons
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Video Transcript

Hello, my name is Harold Yorke, I'm a research scientist in Pasadena, California and I'm gonna be talking about prisms in physics. This is an example of a prism being used as a spectrograph, in other words used to separate colors. The prism is the triangular object in the middle made out of glass, from the bottom left you see the incident beam of light which is white light and towards the top it's partially reflected but within the prism the white light is refracted and then when it hits the surface to the right of the prism it's refracted and disbursed at the same time and the result of this is the rainbow that we see in this NIX picture, the angle between the anti-sun direction which is given by the shadow of the head of the photographer at the bottom and the rainbow is 42 degrees and the person in red is enjoying the rainbow whereas the person to the left in blue is looking for the pot of gold. So the next time you see a rainbow think of prisms in physics and enjoy it like the person in red and don't look for the pot of gold. Thank you for watching.


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