Physics topics

by Dr. J. B. Tatum


Stellar Atmospheres

Celestial Mechanics

Classical Mechanics

Geometric Optics

Electricity and Magnetism

Heat and Thermodynamics

Physical Optics

Max Fairbairn's Planetary Photometry

Integrals and Differential Equations

Physical Optics (last updated: 2017 August 16)

Since I put a few notes on Geometric Optics on this site, from time to time viewers have written to me asking if I am going to write some notes on Physical Optics. The answer has always been that I was not planning to. However I have scribbled one or two notes on isolated and random topics, and I present them here. I am nowhere close to getting together a full course on Physics Optics, so for the time being I give some notes on the following random small topics. Any further topics may appear if and when the spirit moves me, at a rate of maybe one new topic every few years. I hope the following are of some interest.

Reflection and refraction from the point of view of Fermat's Principle and Huygens' Construction.

Reflection and transmission at a boundary, and the Fresnel Equations.

The Cornu Spiral.

The Stokes Parameters for describing polarized light.

I had thought of including a set of notes on photometric quantities, but I think these are adequately covered in my notes on Stellar Atmospheres so I don’t repeat them here.

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