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White Surface and Mirrors

  1. Aug 17, 2007 #1
    Hi,
    I have a question,
    If a smooth white surface reflects all light, then why isn't my mirror basically a white surface?
    How come a white surface act as a mirror?

    Also, I keep hearing about photons being light packets, but I heard that light is an electromagnetic wave, so how can I out the two together?

    In my brain, I picture a light as a wave line pointing in one area, photons gives me a different picture of that.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 17, 2007 #2

    Doc Al

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    A white surface reflects light in all directions (diffuse reflection), whereas a mirror reflects light in the same direction at every point (specular reflection). The white surface is not really that smooth.
     
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