Segments in this Video

Challenging Perceptions (02:44)


This film will explore how Florence Nightingale’s Rose Diagram and Isaac Newton's prism drawing changed science and history.

Prism Experiments (01:31)

400 years ago, scientists believed white sunlight was pure; Newton challenged this notion in 1666. Marcus du Sautoy views his prism diagram at Oxford.

Light Spectrum Discovery (02:58)

Newton's prism diagram shows that refracted light does not change color—proving colors in white light are immutable. Learn how the image was pivotal in scientific history.

Investigating Light (03:16)

Newton studied how the mind controls vision. He fled the plague and embarked on a series of experiments in Woolsthorpe, including poking a needle into his eye to understand how it refracted light.

Recreating a Prism Experiment (03:03)

Newton’s refraction diagrams illustrate an obsession with scientific precision. An expert demonstrates how he discovered the color spectrum, leading to 20th century technological innovations.

Challenging Light Property Convention (02:43)

Newton developed his theory of refraction at Cambridge—during a time when scientists believed color was distorted white light. Learn how his color wheel diagram reflects 17th century beliefs in universal order.

Revolutionizing Optics Science (02:07)

In 1668, Newton used his refraction discovery to design a new telescope reflecting light. View a recreation of his early model at the Orion Optics Factory.

Refraction in Popular Culture (02:11)

Learn how Newton's prism diagram inspired Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" album cover.

Understanding Color Perception (03:37)

Newton believed each wavelength corresponded to a different color. A visual experiment in which a Rubik’s cube is illuminated by different colors shows how color is produced by the brain.

Prism Diagram Legacy (01:33)

Learn why Newton's light theory is relevant to science and technological innovation 300 years after discovering refraction.

Rose Diagram Introduction (01:16)

Learn how Florence Nightingale pioneered modern hospital practices and changed the British Army's attitude towards medical care after the Crimean War.

Representing Casualties (03:18)

Nightingale wrote a controversial report after serving as a nurse in the Crimean War. Learn how her Rose Diagram provides visual evidence that most soldiers died from infectious diseases.

Crimean War Field Hospital (04:02)

Learn how Nightingale improved sanitation and nutrition practices in Scutari during the first year. Despite her efforts, death rates from disease continued to rise.

Improving War Survival Rates (01:17)

After the British Sanitary Commission flushed out the putrid water system at Scutari Hospital, deaths from infectious disease were reduced by 99% within a year.

Hospital Sanitation Campaign (01:33)

After losing many soldiers to disease, Nightingale was determined to reform medical practices. She met with Queen Victoria's advisers, who ordered a confidential report.

Designing the Rose Diagram (04:41)

Learn how Nightingale drew on 18th century statistical charts for inspiration. Modern statisticians discuss why a radial graph is more visually effective than a bar chart for political decisions.

Epidemiology Message (03:36)

In October 1858, Nightingale leaked her report to the public; learn how the Rose Diagram showed lives could be saved through improved hospital sanitation and convinced Parliament to reform medical practices.

Achieving Medical Reform (02:03)

By capturing public imagination, Nightingale's Rose Diagram resulted in improved hospital sanitation and ultimately saved millions of lives worldwide.

Credits: Newton and Nightingale: Beauty of Diagrams (00:32)

Credits: Newton and Nightingale: Beauty of Diagrams

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Newton and Nightingale: The Beauty of Diagrams

Part of the Series : The Beauty of Diagrams
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $300.00
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $450.00
3-Year Streaming Price: $300.00



Isaac Newton’s ideas transformed our knowledge of what we see and how we see, and the prism and its refracted colors became a captivating image. One-hundred years later, Florence Nightingale’s pioneering Rose Diagram was a catalyst in the creation of better and cleaner hospitals that would save thousands of lives. A part of the series The Beauty of Diagrams. A BBC production.

Length: 49 minutes

Item#: BVL57435

ISBN: 978-0-81609-334-2

Copyright date: ©2010

Closed Captioned

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