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AN APPEALING CASE OF SPECTRA: PHOTOGRAPHS ON DISPLAY AT THE ROYAL SOCIETY, LONDON 1891

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title SUMMARY /title

This essay compares the visual appearance and reception of two differing exhibits of spectroscopic data at the Royal Society's Conversazione of 1891; it is speculative in that there is no photographic record of the objects that were displayed. The authors Gabriel Lippmann (1845-1921) and Charles Piazzi Smyth (1819-1900) represent two different approaches both to astrophysics and photography current at the end of the nineteenth-century. I examine the importance of spectra as 'scientific' and aesthetic images. In particular, I explore how Gabriel Lippmann used the image of a spectrum to promote his invention of an instant 'interference' colour photography to a scientific milieu as well as a popular audience - eventually winning a Nobel Prize for this process in 1908.

Affiliations: 1: Cambridge University 1

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/content/journals/10.1163/182539102x00153
2002-01-01
2016-12-10

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