What is isotropic medium and homogeneous medium

1. Feb 21, 2015

Aafia

Can anybody give me a simple and easy example to understand it

2. Feb 21, 2015

ZapperZ

Staff Emeritus
Start from the very beginning. Do you know what the words "isotropic" and "homogeneous" mean in the first place? Have you tried to look them up on your own? These do not have anything to do with a "medium".

Zz.

3. Feb 21, 2015

Aafia

I have read it in my physics book in chapter about light ..

4. Feb 21, 2015

ZapperZ

Staff Emeritus
You have not answered my question. The words "isotropic" and "homogeneous" are English words and they have meanings. Have you tried looking up what they mean?

Zz.

5. Feb 21, 2015

Aafia

Yes isotropic means same in all directions and homogeneous means "of the same kind"

6. Feb 21, 2015

ZapperZ

Staff Emeritus
You missed the subtle difference in the word "homogeneous".

So you have the definition of "isotropic" right. Then apply it to the phrase "isotropic medium"! It means that If you are at a point inside the medium, it behaves the same as you turn in all different directions.

"Homogeneous" means that the medium looks the same as you move to different locations, as opposed to as you turn/spin as in the case for isotropic. This means that the medium is uniformly the same over its volume of interest.

These two are not identical or redundant. You could be at a center of a sphere with a radially-dependent density. The sphere is isotropic at that point, but it is certainly not homogeneous.

In the future, please also include what you had done yourself in trying to answer your question. It saves us time in trying to figure out what you already know, and it also shows that you have made your own attempts, which is what we like to see in this forum.

Zz.

7. Feb 21, 2015

Aafia

Can you connect this thing with light waves

8. Feb 21, 2015

jbriggs444

Re-read post #6. What does it say you should do?

9. Feb 21, 2015

Staff: Mentor

The speed of light at a given point in a medium is the same in all directions. That's isotropic.

The speed of light is the same at all locations in a medium (if that is actually the case). That's homogeneous. Another term for homogeneous is "spatially uniform."

Chet

10. Mar 9, 2016

alden

Could a meter stick be considered isotropic?