# Evidence that light is a transverse wave?

• deepthishan
In summary, one evidence for the transverse polarization of light is the experiment done with two polaroids where one is rotated relative to another. Other evidence includes the manipulation of Maxwell's equations resulting in a wave equation with perpendicular electric and magnetic fields, birefringence observed in natural crystals, and the first polarizing devices made from these crystals. Reports of this phenomenon date back to the 17th century.
deepthishan
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?

Thanks!

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.

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.

## 1. What is a transverse wave?

A transverse wave is a type of wave in which the particles of the medium vibrate perpendicular to the direction of the wave's propagation.

## 2. How is light classified as a transverse wave?

Light is classified as a transverse wave because it exhibits all the properties of a transverse wave, such as polarization, interference, and diffraction.

## 3. What evidence supports the transverse wave nature of light?

One of the main pieces of evidence is the phenomenon of polarization, where light waves can be filtered to only vibrate in one direction, indicating a transverse nature. Additionally, the behavior of light when it interacts with other waves, such as in interference and diffraction, also supports its classification as a transverse wave.

## 4. How is the transverse nature of light related to its speed?

The transverse nature of light is related to its speed because transverse waves can only travel through materials that allow for perpendicular vibration. This means that light can only travel through materials that are transparent, such as air and glass, which do not restrict the perpendicular motion of the light waves.

## 5. Can light also exhibit characteristics of a longitudinal wave?

No, light cannot exhibit characteristics of a longitudinal wave. Longitudinal waves require the particles of the medium to vibrate parallel to the direction of the wave's propagation, while light waves vibrate perpendicular to the direction of propagation, making it a transverse wave.

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