Sunday, April 25, 2010


In this picture, the stem of the flower appears to be out of place. This is caused by the refraction of light rays. The light rays which produce an abnormal image are the ones that travel from the underwater portion of the stem through the water, across the boundary, in the air, and to the human eye. The light rays refract at the boundary. The human eye will see this distorted image because the brain sees the location of the image as the same location where the refracted or reflected rays intersect. So to the brain, the location of the image is where the refracted or reflected rays intersect with each other. The brain and the eye assume that light rays travel in a straight line and extend backwards until they get to the point where they intersect. However, the light rays from the part of the stem under water intersect in a different location than the location where the light rays from the part of the stem above the water do. This is what causes the human eye to see the image as it is.


  1. This picture is very elegantly set up and your explanation is clear. I really like it because it is also a well taken photograph.

  2. great presentation! i really like the type and color of flower that you used. really made the picture work out well.

  3. Your depth of field for this pic is awesome. Its a fantastic description of refraction as well!

    Thanks for posting a pic I could use in my class to have students draw ray diagrams!

  4. I always enjoy discussing refraction with students, especially ones who have never taken the time to understand what you see.

    You give a good explanation of refraction! The extreme refractive properties of substances like diamond really interest me since the speed of light is reduce so much and the refracted angle is so different when compared to the angle of incidence. Imagine being able to view an object inside of a diamond from the outside. Talk about refraction!

    Keep up the great work!

  5. Your picture is poster quality! The colors are very sharp and the composition is exceptional. You are a very talented photographer!
    The physics is correctly explained and I think that your connection to human vision makes it even more powerful!
    Outstanding job!