Dawkins quickly lays that particular complaint to rest by showing how Newton's optics led to spectroscopy which led to measurement of emission and absorption line spectra and thereby to direct understanding of the nature and characteristics of stars-their size, luminosity, history, and future ("Barcodes of the Stars")-and then to our wider understanding of the cosmos.
"Newton's dissection of the rainbow into light of different wavelengths led onto Maxwell's theory of electromagnetism and thence to Einstein's theory of special relativity," notes Dawkins, adding: "If you think the rainbow has poetic mystery, you should try relativity." All from a little "unweaving of the rainbow." And nothing about it need diminish our astonishment and appreciation of the beauty of a rainbow arcing across the rain-darkened sky. (click for full review)
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