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To Physicists: Some questions and information?

  1. Sep 26, 2013 #1
    I am going to take part in a Physics contest in which I must present a Physical phenomenon. I chose to present the light-duality phenomenon.
    I created this thread so I can gather some information, and understand how things happened.

    What I have until now:
    Waves Vs Particles

    Aristotle stated this first assumption. Later, in the 11th century, Arhazen did aswell. In 1678, Huygens suggested that the fact that light diffracts makes light have a wave nature. Frensel supported Huygens' idea and merged it with his own principle of interference** and created the Huygens-Frensel principle. Later in the mid-19th century James Clerk Maxwell combined 4 equations and proved that visible, ultraviolet and infrared light are all electromagnetic waves.

    **At this point I have 3 questions
    1)Hooke is mentioned in the wikipedia for working with these two people. What did he do? If this is true, why is it only called Huygens-Frensel principle?

    2)It says that principle of interference was Frensel's principle. Wasn't interference discovered firstly by Thomas Young in 1801?

    3)In the wikipedia it mentions that Huygens-Frensel principle could explain both the rectilinear propagation of light and also diffraction effects. How can we explain it with that principle?

    Democritus stated this first assumption. In 1630 Rene Descartes did aswell.(I might not mention him). In 1670, Isaac Newton suggested that since light travels in straight lines, it can travel through vacuum and when it changes medium of propagation from a less dense to a denser one, it accelerates, it means that light behaves as particles. In the 20th century, Planck and Einstein explained the photoelectric effect. (<- I have doubts on this, Planck did the black-body radiation experiment and came to what conclusions? And how did Einstein add up to his conclusions. Also, photoelectric effect is the same as the black-body radiation experiment right?)

    Please, if I have forgotten something important, or made any mistakes please say so.
    Also, I if there were any interactions between these people, it would help me a lot. That's because I am thinking of presenting it in a form of poem-dialogue in which these two sides are arguing with each other and they point out the other side's mistakes etc.

    What I have read is that Huygens showed that when light changes medium of propagation, it gets reflected AND refracted. Using a wave model of light, he was able to show that waves can do this.(If you measure the amount of light reflected and the amount of light refracted, it adds up to the original wave).
    He then asked Newton to explain this phenomenon using his particle-theory of light. Newton gave a silly answer, that some particles "decide" to go into the water but some do not. Due to the silliness of his answer he lost many of his supporters. <-- Is this story true? If it is, could you tell me more events? They would definitely help me out creating dialogues between the two teams.

    Last but not least, do you have any ideas for the presentation? Maybe change it's whole style? (not to make it a poem). Any other ideas are accepted. Note: I am not allowed to use any materials at all, only me on the stage.

    Thanks for reading, and I would highly appreciate it if you answered!
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 26, 2013 #2


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  4. Sep 26, 2013 #3


    Staff: Mentor

    For presentation ideas, try searching youtube for "Wave/Particle duality" videos. I know there's a Feynman discussion on it and a Minute Physics two part video.
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