31_polarization - Lesson 31 Polarization Polarization is...

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Lesson 31: Polarization Polarization is something that people have known about (indirectly) for a long time, but for many years didn't understand. When you look at sunlight reflecting off of water, the glare can just about blind you! The same sort of thing happens when you get an intense glare from snow. .. “ snow blindness .” This happens because of the way hitting the surface changes the “shape” of the light wave. This is what we call polarization. If you took a piece of Iceland Spar (a type of crystal) and held a piece of tourmaline (another crystal) and held them both in front of your eye, you could get rid of that glare almost completely. EMR is basically a bunch of transverse waves pointing in all sorts of directions all at once. Waves of light are vibrating up-down, left-right, diagonally back and forth, in every direction all at once. If you were to look at a beam of light coming straight at you and see its waves, you’d see something that looks like Illustration 1 . This is what the waves look like normally. We call it unpolarized or non-polarized light. When light hits a reflective surface like water, it will reflect the light waves polarized slightly. This is because the waves that are vibrating in the direction that hits
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This note was uploaded on 12/02/2011 for the course PHYSICS 235 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at Rutgers.

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31_polarization - Lesson 31 Polarization Polarization is...

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