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Maxwell's Maximum

Cynthia Kolb Whitney
Year: 2009 Pages: 9
Keywords: special relativity, maxwell, speed of light
This paper looks in detail at the situation that develops with Maxwell’s coupled field equations when the initial condition constitutes a pair of field pulses, in E and B, with finite total energy, such as would be needed to plausibly model a light signal for SRT, or a photon for QM. What emerges from the analysis is that, during propagation, the initial pulses always tend to spread longitudinally into complex waveforms exhibiting oscillation. So ‘light in flight’ is never a simple pair of pulses. It is a pair of spread-out waveforms, with maxima in the middle and long oscillating tails fore and aft. The waveform centroid may be said to travel at light speed c, but that fact alone does not at all adequately characterize light signals for SRT, or photons for QM.