Rock salt prism used in pioneering work on the infra-red spectrum, 1920-1940
Rock salt prism used by Sutherland and Sheppard in infra-red research
The prism was used by Sir Gordon Sutherland and Norman Sheppard at Cambridge during the Second World War in the analysis of hydrocarbons present in enemy fuels using infra-red spectroscopy. One such use was to determine to what extent Germany was converting coal into oil. The prism was used in conjunction with infra-red diffraction gratings, also acquired, which had been purchased in the 1930s from Michigan University. Acquisition of these items by the Science Museum provides the opportunity for strong stories on the use of novel scientific techniques in warfare, and of the use of science by the state.
- Experimental Chemistry
- Object Number:
- prism - optical
- furnishing and equipment
- tools & equipment
- optical instrument
- optical instrument component
- Professor Norman Sheppard and Dr William Jeremy Jones
Cite this page
We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.
Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero
Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence
Download catalogue entry as json
Download manifest IIIF
Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.