Letter | Published:

Reflection of Light at the Confines of a Diffusing Medium

Nature volume 92, page 450 (18 December 1913) | Download Citation



I SUPPOSE that everyone is familiar with the beautifully graded illumination of a paraffin candle, extending downwards from the flame to a distance of several inches. The thing is seen at its best when there is but one candle in an otherwise dark room, and when the eye is protected from the direct light of the flame. And it must often be noticed when a candle is broken across, so that the two portions are held together merely by the wick, that the part below the fracture is much darker than it would otherwise be, and the part above brighter, the contrast between the two being very marked. This effect is naturally attributed to reflection, but it does not at first appear that the cause is adequate, seeing that at perpendicular incidence the reflection at the common surface of wax and air is only about 4 per cent.

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