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On the phenomena and laws of elliptic polarization, as exhibited in the action of metals upon light.
Printed by Richard Taylor, 1830., In: The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society . London: - 279 x 225 mm. 4to. Vol. 120. Part two: vi, (223)-434, [8], 14 pp. (Brewster's article appears on pages 287-326). Numerous tables, 3 figs.; some offsetting associated with plates at the rear of the volume, some track-marks on series title. Original blue wrapper, untrimmed, blue kozo spine; top cover chipped. Very good. FIRST EDITION. This paper contains Brewster's second major contribution: the laws of metallic reflection. "The most striking properties of metals are the power of brilliantly reflecting light at all angles of incidence, which is so well shown by the mirrors of reflecting telescopes, and the opacity, which causes a train of waves to be extinguished before it has proceeded many wave-lengths into a metallic medium. That these two attributes are connected appears probable from the fact that certain non-metallic bodies - e.g. aniline dyes - which strongly absorb the rays in certain parts of the spectrum, reflect those rays with almost metallic brilliance. A third quality in which metals differ from transparent bodies, and which, as we shall see, is again closely related to the other two, is in regard to the polarisation of the light reflected from them. This was first noticed by Malus; and in 1830 Sir David Brewster showed that plane-polarised light incident on a metallic surface remains polarised in the same plane after reflection if its polarisation is either parallel or perpendicular to the plane of reflection, but that in other cases the reflected light is polarised elliptically. It was this discovery of Brewster's which suggested to the mathematicians a theory of metallic reflection." Whittaker. DNB, II, pp. 1207-1211; DSB, II, pp. 451-454; Encyclopædia Britannica, 11th ed., IV, pp. 513-514; Morrison-Low, "Published writings of Sir David Brewster: a bibliography," in: Morrison-Low and Christie, 'Martyr of science', No. 477; Whittaker, A history of the theories of aether & electricity, I, p. 161. [Attributes: First Edition]
      [Bookseller: Jeff Weber Rare Books, ABAA]
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