Concept

Foucault's measurements of the speed of light

Summary
In 1850, Léon Foucault used a rotating mirror to perform a differential measurement of the speed of light in water versus its speed in air. In 1862, he used a similar apparatus to measure the speed of light in the air. Background In 1834, Charles Wheatstone developed a method of using a rapidly rotating mirror to study transient phenomena, and applied this method to measure the velocity of electricity in a wire and the duration of an electric spark. He communicated to François Arago the idea that his method could be adapted to a study of the speed of light. The early-to-mid 1800s were a period of intense debate on the particle-versus-wave nature of light. Although the observation of the Arago spot in 1819 may have seemed to settle the matter definitively in favor of Fresnel's wave theory of light, various concerns continued to appear to be addressed more satisfactorily by Newton's corpuscular theory. Arago expanded upon Wheatstone's concept in an 1838 publication, suggest
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