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How does Corpuscular Theory and  Wave Theory of Light affects the characteristics of...

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carlet19 | Student, Grade 11 | Honors

Posted January 16, 2012 at 10:23 AM via web

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How does Corpuscular Theory and  Wave Theory of Light affects the characteristics of light such as light pass through each other?

What theory is the best and why?

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bandmanjoe | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted January 19, 2012 at 8:19 AM (Answer #1)

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For this particular subject, I tend to subscribe to the wave theory of light over the corpuscular theory.  Newton theorized light to be composed of tiny particles, "corpuscles", for lack of a better term, that all traveled in direct paths, with a definite velocity.  If we were to pass a stream of these traveling particles through yet another stream of traveling particles, would there not be a collision of the particles at some point?  That is, if the particles have mass, which they do not.

Enter the wave theory of light.  Huygens theory proposed that light was composed more of wave lengths than of particles.  It would be possible to pass one wave length of light through another and have them continue, uninterrupted, because the wave lengths were able to bend, or diffract around each other.  I think this theory has more credibility at this point.

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