Exuberant interference: Thomas Young, two centuries after


Prof. Michael Berry

Bristol Univ.

Summary:The examples of wave interference given by Thomas Young in his
pioneering lectures at the beginning of the nineteenth century still
resonate with our scientific preoccupations today. His understanding of
supernumerary rainbows was the first example of wave interference near
caustics (that is, near the singularities of ray optics). His concept of
cotidal lines led to the concept of wavefronts of superpositions (as
opposed to superposition of wavefronts) and thence to phase
singularities, first in the tides and then in waves of all kinds. His
introduction of edge waves was later validated by Sommerfeld, and is
providing new understandings of the Aharonov-Bohm effect, and, together
with his pioneering work on diffraction gratings, leads to fractal
fields representing an extreme of optical coherence. Young also
introduced the germ of the idea of decoherence, now seen as crucial in
explaining how the classical world emerges from the quantum world.



简介:Prof. M. Berry 是世界著名理论物理学家, 以其发现的量子系统的

      Berry Phase 闻名于世。