|Born||13 August 1625
|Died||4 November 1698 (aged 73)
|Known for||double refraction of a light ray|
Rasmus Bartholin (Latinized Erasmus Bartholinus; 13 August 1625 – 4 November 1698) was a Danish scientist and physician. As part of his studies, he travelled in Europe for ten years. Professor at the University of Copenhagen, first in Geometry, later in Medicine. He was a younger brother of Thomas Bartholin.
Rasmus Bartholin is remembered especially for his discovery (1669) of the double refraction of a light ray by Iceland spar (calcite). He published an accurate description of the phenomenon, but since the physical nature of light was poorly understood at the time, he was unable to explain it. It was only after Thomas Young proposed the wave theory of light, c. 1801 that an explanation became possible.
- Erasmus Bartholin, Experimenta crystalli islandici disdiaclastici quibus mira & insolita refractio detegitur (Copenhagen ("Hafniæ"), Denmark: Daniel Paulli, 1669). English translation: Experiments with the double refracting Iceland crystal which led to the discovery of a marvelous and strange refraction, tr. by Werner Brandt. Westtown, Pa., 1959.
- "De figura nivis". In Thomas Bartolin, De nivis usu medico observationes variae. Accessit D. Erasmi Bartholini de figura nivis dissertatio, p. PA241, at Google Books. Copenhagen: P. Haubold, 1661
- O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Erasmus Bartholin", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews.