Let There Be Light
In this post I explore Maxwell’s equations to enrich my understanding of the amazing insight that light is an electromagnetic wave and using plane wave solutions obtain simple insights into the characteristics of these waves.
The following is a typical differential form representation of Maxwell’s equations for nonmagnetic and nonpolarisable media.
Now consider whether these equations have nontrivial solutions in vacuo (no charges or currents). The equations simplify:
Apply the curl to the last two equations yields:
Using and substituting the last two equations:
or equivalently:
These are recognisable as wave equations. The speed of propagation, , is:
…and LET THERE BE LIGHT…
In a future post, I aim to look at simple solutions to explore properties of light…

July 23, 2011 at 6:46 pmMaxwell  Unkown Blogger Pursues a Deranged Quest for Normalcy