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Brewster's Law explanation help

  1. Apr 22, 2005 #1
    "The Scottish physicist Sir David Brewster discovered that for a certain angle of incidence, monochromatic light was 100% polarised upon reflection. The refracted beam was partially polarised, but the reflected beam was completely polarised parallel to the reflecting surface. Furthermore, he noticed that at this angle of incidence, the reflected and refracted beams were perpendicular''

    my physics book doesn't really tell me why this is so. Is this just something I'm supposed to memorize? If not, could someone explain this to me? Thanks
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 22, 2005 #2


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    What level of physics do you have...?

  4. Apr 22, 2005 #3

    The Brewster's law is fully deductible from the Fresnel laws. Try to google with "reflection and transmission of electromagnetic waves", "Fresnel laws", etc. or find a book which covers these topics.

    (But.......it's easier to memorize it :biggrin: )

  5. Apr 22, 2005 #4
    I'm in 2nd semester freshman physics. I've just touched upon electromagnetic waves last week, and optics this week.

    Thanks. I'll try that too. Yea, it kinda sounds like something I should maybe try to just memorize.
  6. Apr 22, 2005 #5


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    Nah,go to Born & Wolf "Principles of Optics" (any edition) first chaper...

  7. Apr 22, 2005 #6
    ok i see it listed in my school library. ill see if i can get to it. Thanks.
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