Silver 2 Sensor : Episode 2 ( Getting ready for a Revolution )

In the last episode of “Silver 2 Sensor (S2S)”, we saw how great minds of the past have developed the concept of Camera obscura (“Dark Chamber” in Latin) and used it efficiently in the field of astronomy and Art.

During the start of 11th century, Silver nitrate (an important ingredient of film technology) was discovered by Albertus Magnus, a catholic saint and bishop. He was referred to as one of the greatest philosopher of the Middle Ages. He was also known popularly as “Doctor of the Church” ( only 35 of them have been named so far ).

But it didn’t stop with that. During the medieval times, especially during the mid-part of 14th century many people started working on refining the concept of camera obscura by bringing it inside a small wooden box. A famous Italian mathematician and physician named Gerolamo cardano (1501 -1576) introduced the idea of incorporating lens to the wooden box, in order to get a clearer image.

This was cited in a medieval literary work Magiae naturalis (1558), Giovanni Battista Della porta, a well-known scientific revolutionist and reformist of that that time described the use of a lens assembly instead of the hole which is used in one of the Camera obscura models.

Further recordings also say that lens grinding and optical technology was much prevalent during the mid-14th century (This is the time where Galileo constructed the telescope). So the 14 century played a very important role in bringing down the size of the camera.

In 1568, Daniele barbaro an Italian translator visualized a concept called “diaphragm” which is used in almost all the cameras (aperture) to create a depth of field.

During the same time another person named Georges Fabricus (1516-1571) discovered silver chloride.

Now by the end of 14th century, we have got

  1. A dark chamber, to capture the image.
  2. A lens, to create clear and sharp image of the objects
  3. A diaphragm to give a “depth of field” and
  4. The chemical necessary for making a Photographic film ( silver nitrate and Silver chloride )

After getting all the ingredients, the development in photography came to a halt. For almost two hundred years ,  no significant advances were made in field of photography.  This may be due to the issues faced by the Europe , like the plague outbreaks (which killed 1/3rd of Europe’s population), religious battles and lots more. It is only in the 16th century, where people started experimenting with photo chemicals and started building prototypes of a complete camera.

When you look back the first and second episodes of the series, you can see philosophers, bishops and mathematicians are the ones who have heavily contributed to the development of photography. Even though they had strong religious beliefs, they still had the passion ,respect and willingness to contribute towards the growth of science. It is like, they valued both religion and science equally.

History had seen its worst times during the medieval period. But photography started to flourish like a seed giving out a leaflet after being frozen in winter for several months.

In the next episode we will travel to 16th century England where all the magic started!

( Image : Gerolamo cardano  Source : Wikipedia )

To Be Continued…

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