Viewing Additive and Subtractive Spectra through a Prism

While at a physics demonstration show held at the 1996 national summer meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), I demonstrated a way to view spectral colors and their compliments with a prism. I was surprised by the large number of scientists that had never seen this way of observing the complementary spectrum. Like Newton and Goethe, you can make a wonderful study of the properties of color using a prism and two sheets of black and white paper. (If you cannot buy or salvage a prism locally, you can purchase them from science supply companies such as Arbor Scientific or Edmund Scientific. An equilateral prism will cost between $7 and $15).

Become a member of OSA or log in to view the full text of this article.

OSA Members get the full text of Optics & Photonics News, plus a variety of other member benefits.

Add a Comment

comments powered by Disqus