Product Idea

Newton's Prism

Science, art, scupture, and fun all come together in a set that celebrates Sir Isaac Newton's legendary experiments with light and color!

A prism is a transparent object, typically highly-polished glass, whose sides come together at an angle that causes light passing through it to be separated into all the colors of the visible spectrum.  There are many types of prisms, each dependent on their application, but the iconic image of a prism is that of a triangular bar of glass with white light entering one side at an angle and a colorful spectrum emerging on an adjacent side.

Early in his career, legendary scientist Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1726) conducted experiments with light passing through a prism, leading to his famous Theory of Color.  Rarely has there been a scientific principle that can be illustrated with such simplicity and beauty!  

In designing this set, I had two major challenges.  The first was how to represent small slivers of 7 colors emerging from a single point and expanding outward geometrically without any of them appearing too jagged.  My solution here was that they could be all presented as thick bars of color, each hinged off a central axis inside the prism.  Each color bar then rests upon a hidden construction on the back of the previous bar, resulting in an even fanning-out of all seven colors.  The other advantage of "staircasing" the color bars like this is that it presents the spectrum in three dimensions, allowing the model to look beautiful from many angles, not just the classic front-side view.  All the colors are visible from nearly every viewing angle.  The second major challenge was how to present a triangular, transparent bar that comes together in the classic 60-degree angle, while still remaining structurally stable and allowing both the white light and the color bars to intersect it.  Ultimately, I decided to present the two visible transparent sides as large, hinged constructions that snap on easily and pivot into position. 

What set would be complete without a minifig?  The Isaac Newton holds a miniature prism in his hand!

This model makes such a striking statement on display.  The black base, white light, and transparent bar stand in such contrast to the explosion of color on the other side.  Not only does it make a neat conversation piece, it would also look great on the desk of any school science teacher!

This project is a re-design of the previous project "Prism & Spectrum".  This time around, the color bars have been spaced at a much tighter angle to more accurately represent the dispersion angles of the spectrum.