- #1

Nirgal

- 28

- 1

In the texts on Optics that I've read, there does not seem to be any reference to the observer's frame. It is only mentioned that light is Left-circularly polarized or linearly polarized, etc.

When we describe polarization we ascribe to the light-beam in question a vector representing the polarized state. But is that polarized state the same for each observer?

I am speculating that the polarization is relative and this is my (naive) reasoning.

If we were discussing the path of a bullet, then in the frame of reference of somebody rotating, the path of the bullet would be curved. So the time dependent vector representing the path of the bullet would depend on the frame of reference of the observer.

Now, the physics of light is so bizarre and I can barely understand it that I do not assume that the analogy between bullets and light can be taken very far. The point of the analogy though is that polarization state is described by a vector and similarly the path of the bullet. And since the mathematical abstraction that the vector represents depends on the reference frame for the bullet then I would assume that the polarization similarly depends on the reference frame of the observer as well.

This is one of my problems in physics though. I am constantly in a wrestling match between distinguishing the mathematics from the physics.