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Huygens principle consequence of isotropy

  1. Feb 22, 2012 #1
    IS huygens principle a consequence of isotropy of space? According to wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huygens–Fresnel_principle it is

    I dont really understand this : lets say a sound wave , a vibrator pushes the air molecule does this mean that molecule vibrates in all directions? Ofcourse the air molecule's backward vibrations will be cancelled by the vibrators forward vibration but will the molecules vibrate in other directions too?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 22, 2012 #2
    Not really: the Huygens principle can equally well be used for anisotropic space. The principle is that every point can be regarded as a source of secondary waves.
    Good point; it depends on the wavelength if the resulting pressure wave spreads out strongly or not, thus qualitatively similar to light. Note that Huygens primarily modeled light (I think), which is modeled as a transverse wave (oscillating perpendicular to the propagation). Thus your issue doesn't arise with light, but it could be interesting to discuss how much longitudinal waves behave differently.
  4. Feb 22, 2012 #3
    ok actually my initial doubt was: IS there a proof to huygens principle that every point is regarded as a source of secondary waves? I thought the isotropy of space could explain it but as you say its not necessary
    So is there a proof for huygens principle?
  5. Feb 24, 2012 #4
    It's a successfully working model. And on top of that, it makes sense. What more can you ask for?
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2012
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