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Evidence that light is a transverse wave?

  1. Jul 6, 2011 #1
    I read that one of the evidence was the experiment done with two polaroids (where one is rotated relative to another).

    Can you give me others please?

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 6, 2011 #2
    Mathematically: you can manipulate Maxwell's equations. When you do it, you end up with a wave equation which has electric and magnetic fields perpendicular to each other and with their direction of propagation.
  4. Jul 6, 2011 #3
    I understand that the the question is about original evidence.
    One hint about transverse polarization of light was the birefringence observed in some natural crystals (calcite). There were no polaroids at that time. And neither Maxwell's equations.
    Actually the first polarizing devices were made from these natural crystals (Nichol prisms).
    The first reports of this phenomena date from the 17th century, I think.
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