Define the term refractive index of a medium. What do you understand by the statement 'the refractive index of glass is 1.5 for white light'?
When light travels from one medium (air) to another medium (glass), it bends towards the normal. The extent of bending of light depends upon the speed of light (v2) in the second medium, compared to the speed of light (v1) in the first medium. The refractive index of the second medium w.r.t. the first medium (n21) is given by
n21 = Speed of light (v1) in first medium / speed of light (v2) in second medium
The refractive index of glass is typically around 1.5, meaning that light in glass travels at
c / 1.5 = 200,000 km/s. A low value of refractive index also indicates a large critical angle at the glass-air interface.