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The Refraction of Light and Percentage of Error

In one of the many books published by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy called Optics, Ptolemy reports the results of refraction experiments he conducted by observing light passing from air into water. His results are as follows: angle of incidence = 10.0 degrees, angle of refraction = 8.00 degrees; angle of incidence = 20.0 degrees, angle of refraction = 15.5 degrees. Find the percentage error for each of Ptolemy's measurements.

Solution Preview

We know that the index of refraction for air is n=1.00 and for water n=1.33.

Using Snell's law:
n_i * sin(theta_i) = n_r * sin (theta_r)

n_i is the incident index of refraction (air, n_i = ...

Solution Summary

This solution provides a step by step explanation of how to work through this calculation based physics problem. All the necessary algebra and variables needed to solve and understand this problem are provided within the response.