How Does a Magnifying Glass Work?
A magnifying glass makes the words and letters on a page look much larger because of the way in which it bend the rays of light that pass through it. A magnifying glass is a glass lens that is thicker in the middle than it is on the edges. It consists of a single convex lens that magnifies an object when the glass is held up to it.
When you hold a magnifying glass close to a page, the light reflected from the page passes through the curved lens. The lens bends and spreads the rays of light so that they are wider apart when they get to your eye than they would be without the lens. So, the letters and words appear much larger than they really are.
Historians believe a scientist named Alhazen created the first magnifying glass in 1021. Since Alhazen’s time, the principles of optical physics that make magnifying glasses work so well have been the foundation of great advancements in science, particularly biology and astronomy.
Today, magnifying glasses can be used for simple tasks, such as making small magazine text easier to read, to complex, scientific tasks, such as studying microscopic organisms. In addition to simple, handheld magnifying glasses, magnifying lenses play important roles as part of other devices, including binoculars, cameras, microscopes, and telescopes.