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a blue desk lamp

Any desk lamp will do

You can get colored lights and thermometers and do the experiment that du Chatelet never carried out. See for yourself whether red light will heat things up more than blue light!

Get a regular weather thermometer, and set it up under a strong desk lamp so the light shines on it. Also get a red bulb and a blue bulb (they should have these in the light bulb section of a big grocery store.) First put the red bulb in the lamp. Turn on the lamp and come back in 15 minutes. Now see what the thermometer reads.

What do you predict will happen when you put the blue bulb in the lamp and try again? Why? What will happen if you put a regular light bulb in? Why?

Try the blue bulb and the regular bulb and check out what happens.

Learn by doing – du Chatelet’s experiment with light
More about Voltaire

Bibliography and further reading about Emilie du Chatelet:


European Women
Louis XV France
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