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Traduction commment\'ee en francais de La Conf\'erence Bakerienne sur la Th\'eorie de la Lumi\`ere et des Couleurs de Thomas Young
preprintposted on 2023-01-10, 03:16 authored by Olivier Morizot
On November 12, 1802, Thomas Young lays down in front of the Royal Society of London his Theory of Light and Colours. In this text, he defends a vibratory model or light, in which the peculiar attention he gives to the consequence of the crossing of two light beams allows him to formulate the first version of the interference principle. And to deduce out of it the first correct justification of the colours of thin plates, from which he computes the very first series of measurements of the wavelength of light ; a concept he introduces for the very occasion. Based on this same principle, he presents the first experience of diffraction from a grating, allowing him to anticipate the reason of the origin of the colours of certain insects and butterflies. Finally, the defense of this vibratory model is also the occasion for him to elaborate the visionary hypothesis of the triple structure of the photoreceptors of the retina involved in colour vision. The very high density of concepts and innovative results embedded in this short text justifies by itself the interest of bringing a translated and commented version of it at the disposal of the French audience.