Have you ever wondered how come you could see your reflection in a mirror? Have you ever asked yourself how come you’re able to look at a table, a chair, or even your phone on the nightstand? The answer to these two questions can be provided by the law of reflection. According to this principle, the angle of the incident light ray is equal to the angle of the reflected light ray. But what does this mean?
I’ve always hated physics when I was in school because I didn’t want to understand the fundamental principles that governed our world. I had little to no interested in the field because I was more passionate about biology. It stands to reason that this is what I ended up doing, especially as I now teach biology, as well. However, there are certain areas of physics that need to be addressed whether you like it or not.
If you have the least interest in biology, chances are that you’ve wanted to use a microscope at some point or the other. Even as a child focusing the image on something fun like a piece of orange, a beetle, or a leaf, you’ve probably wondered how the magic of microscopes and optics works.
Reflection is one thing, but refraction is an entirely different process. The simplest way of understanding the second is to put a ruler into a glass filled with water. What do you see? If I’m not mistaken, and I don’t think that I am, the ruler has an entirely different angle while out and in the water.
Transmitted light microscopy is currently utilized in many fields, and you might have heard about it. While some models are outfitted with an illumination source that’s placed above the specimen, with others, you’ll be able to look at the intricacy of the sample components thanks to a bulb placed under the specimen. This feature is particularly handy when looking at tissues that are partially transparent. If for example, you were to analyze fragments of skin or organic tissue from a frog, you’d need transmitted light microscopy to take a better look at the sample.
Typically, whenever a light wave hits an object, there’s a myriad of situations that might occur. The light can either be absorbed by the sample, as would be the case with the transmitted light microscopy I was mentioning above. On the other hand, the light can be reflected by the object, which would happen if you were to use a microscope equipped with a light source placed above the sample. Sometimes, if the light source is positioned near the object, the latter can even absorb the energy and transform it into heat.
I hope that this short post has helped you in some way or the other.