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Comment on Form follows data

amzamz Thu, Mar 4, 2010
Before computers were available, other ways of data representations were used. The example above is 150 years old. It represents optical spectra of chemical elements obtained experimentally by Bunsen and Kirchhoff. They actually discovered 2 new elements by this method in 1860 and 1861. The light is spread by a glass prism.

The picture below shows a 2d representation of a mathematical function by capillary force. The distance between the glass plates varies from left to right, and defines the height by which water is raising between the plates. Published by Newton and pictured 1747 by Gravesande.