The “Spectrometer Exhibit: Instruments that Separate Light into the Colors of the Rainbow” was held at the Osaka Science Museum. I was thrilled to visit the exhibit, due to the fact that they were presenting measuring instruments that I use on a daily basis. One of the displayed items that particularly caught my eye was a spectrometer used in the early 20th century. More than half of the spectrometer’s housing was formed of wood, and a photographic plate was used for recording the spectra. Today the photographic plate has been replaced by a CCD camera, and the rotating mechanism of the optical element is now controlled electrically. Despite this, the internal construction is not much different from modern apparatuses. In fact, the device even employed quartz for the internal prism and lenses, a clever solution that allows passage of ultraviolet light while enabling analysis of a broader range of light wavelengths. This spectroscope was displayed alongside emission spectra of the various chemical elements that were acquired at the time the spectroscope was in use. It was startling how vivid the spectra appeared on the photographic plates. As I gazed at the images, I began to speculate how the scientists using these apparatuses in those days must have felt catching a glimpse of a world no one else had seen.
July, 28th, 2015
Jun Ando, post-doctoral research fellow, Osaka University
博士研究員 安藤 潤