Isaac Newton is responsible for giving the modern world the information we use today about light and the rainbow. In one experiment, he used two prisms to split a beam of white light into colored components, and then put them back together into a beam of white light. A simpler way of showing how the different colors come together to form white light is known as Newton's Disc. This disc can be made by creating a color wheel and spinning it very fast.
Part 1 of 3: Make a Color Wheel
Step 1. Gather the supplies you will need for the project
You will need a standard piece of printer paper, an equivalent size piece of cardboard, glue, tape, scissors, hole punch, a ruler, a # 2 pencil, and a colored font. Choose the color font. You can choose to color the disc with crayons, markers, colored pencils, or paint. You will need all the colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and purple.
Alternatively, you can choose to print a color wheel from the internet. Try searching online for "color wheel" or "printable color wheel."
Step 2. Cut the paper and cardboard into circles of equal size
For this, you can trace something round with a pencil, use a drawing compass, or print a circle with the computer. Although it doesn't matter what size of circle you use, it's best to use a circle that will fit comfortably on a standard sheet of notebook paper. The bigger the circle, the more difficult it will be to create the effects of the puck.
Step 3. Glue the paper to the cardboard
If you printed a color wheel from the internet, be sure to glue the color side up. Let the glue dry completely before moving on to the next step.
Step 4. Divide the circle into seven equal triangles
Use the ruler and pencil to make the lines of the circle. Think of this step as if you are "cutting a cake." You are creating a color wheel.
Step 5. Color each of the seven sections a different color
Start at the top of the circle and work clockwise. Color the sections with the following colors and in this order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and purple.
Part 2 of 3: Using a Newton Disc
Step 1. Attach the disc to the stylus
You will need to make a hole in the middle of the disk. Slide the disc onto the stylus. This will give you a way to hold the record and spin it quickly.
Step 2. Hold the puck in position
Tape around the pencil, 1 inch (2.5 cm) above and below the disk. This will prevent the wheel from coming off the stylus when turning. This way, you can spin the record faster without it coming off the stylus.
Step 3. Twist the disk around the pencil
At first you will see the colors spinning quickly. As the disc spins faster, you will begin to see the colors blend together, and as they merge they will appear white. If this doesn't happen, try spinning the disk even faster.
Step 4. Adjust your technique
If you can still see most of the colors, try spinning the wheel faster. Keep in mind that you may not see a perfectly white wheel. Try to spin the wheel faster than your eyes can process the colors.
Part 3 of 3: Understand the Science
Step 1. Look at a prism
A prism is used to divide visible light. This separates the light by different frequencies, which appear in different colors. Shining white light through a prism will produce all the colors of the rainbow (the spectrum of visible light).
If you don't have access to a prism, the water can also divide the light. This can be seen in rainbows
Step 2. Study the visible spectrum
Visible light is the small range of electromagnetic energy that the human eye can detect and translate into an image. When the entire spectrum is present, the light appears white. When certain frequencies are absorbed, reflected or not present, the eye sees different colors, for example red or green.
Step 3. Consider color combinations
The frequencies that make up the visible spectrum are present on the color wheel. So turning the wheel fast enough to blur those colors makes them appear white. Light of all colors reaches the eye almost at the same time. This tricks the eye into thinking it is seeing white light.