The wave theory of light owes its origins to the seminal work of Huygens, Young and Fresnel. Huygens proposed the principle of secondary waves as the mechanism underlying light propagation in his Treatise (1690). Young proposed the principle of wave interference as the basis for bright and dark fringe formation in his Natural Philosophy (1807). Fresnel developed both his predecessor’s ideas into a nice quantitative framework that also acco unts for the transverse nature of light in his Memoirs (1815). Later workers like Stokes (1856), Kirchhoff (1882), Rayleigh & Sommerfeld (1900s) and Wolf & Marchand (1950s) helped further refine Fresnel’s original work by incorporating the wave equation into the formalism, but with varied degrees of success. In this talk, I will dwell upon some very fertile ideas on the theory of wave interference that has largely gone unnoticed over the past 200 years, starting from a reformulation of the classical double slit experiment. The many advantages and applications of the new approach will be summarized in the closing remarks. Only a basic knowledge of analytical geometry, differential calculus and discrete mathematics is assumed.
Dr. Joseph Ivin Thomas is an Assistant Professor in Physiology at the ESIC Medical College, Hyderabad where he teaches first year medical (MBBS) students. His academic background and research training spans multiple disciplines including Physics, Mathematics, Computation, Neuroscience, Medicine and Physiology. He did his schooling till the 12th standard in the United Arab Emirates, his undergraduate studies in Kerala (MBBS + BSc Physics), postgraduate stu dies in the United Kingdom and Bangalore (MSc Neuroscience + MD Physiology). Currently, he holds an Adjunct Professorship in the Natural Sciences at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore and also a Visiting Professorship in Neurophilosophy at the DePaul Institute of Religion and Philosophy, Bangalore.