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A Drop of Optical Light Refraction by Caroline Elizabeth Hughes

2nd Place - Contrived Category

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School: Saint Ignatius College Prep

Teacher: Dr. Matthew O'Keefe

Optical light refraction is demonstrated in this photograph of a water droplet. To take this picture, I placed a piece of fabric behind a sink faucet, and then captured this image of a single water droplet as it passed in front of the cloth. The droplet displays a version of the cloth that appears to be curved. This curve is caused by refraction: the traveling light passed through a different medium (water), and its speed changed from what it had been when traveling through the previous medium (the air outside of the water droplet). The water was more dense than the air so it caused the light to pass through it at a slower speed. This change in the light's speed caused it to have a shorter wavelength. This along with the slower speed caused the path of the light to bend which is what caused the cloth appear to be curved.

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