Hermann von Helmholtz

Treatise on Physiological Optics

The Optical Society of America's Southall (1924) translation of Hermann von Helmholtz’s Treatise on Physiological Optics (1910) is offered here for free download from the Graduate Center for Vision Research at the SUNY College of Optometry. The pages were originally scanned for Professor Benjamin Backus in 2001 by the University of Pennsylvania.

The page images in the PDF files are of excellent quality, but you may find they are too large to view using your web browser. We suggest you download them (e.g. right click and "save as") and then view them on your computer. The smaller DjVu version may be more convenient: download the zip archive, extract it to a folder, and then open the file "directory.djvu" using a DjVu viewer.

The optical character recognition (OCR) in the DjVu and PDF files are useful for searching. Alas, the OCR is not of high quality and you may not find all instances of your target word(s). We would be delighted should you see fit to make and share a cleaner copy of the text.

Volume III begins with a discussion of perceptual inference. This is where most students of perception will want to start.

Happy reading!

The Backus Lab
September 2011

 

Helmholtz's Treatise on Physiological Optics

     Permission to use these files is granted for nonprofit purposes only.
Please see first page of the document for additional copyright information.

 

Volume I: Anatomy, physiology, and dioptrics of the eye; Gullstrand appendix

Zip archive of DjVu document (11 MB)
Adobe PDF with OCR text replacement (325 MB)
Adobe PDF images of pages (275 MB)

 

Volume II: Visual sensation (color, contrast, adaptation, etc.)

Zip archive of DjVu document (11.5 MB)
Adobe PDF with OCR text replacement (532 MB)
Adobe PDF images of pages (271 MB)

 

Volume III: Visual perception (depth, motion, etc.)

Zip archive of DjVu document (12 MB)
Adobe PDF with OCR text replacement (123 MB)
Adobe PDF images of pages (421 MB)

 

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