News of the WeekPhysics

Century-Long Debate Over Momentum of Light Resolved?

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  26 Feb 2010:
Vol. 327, Issue 5969, pp. 1067
DOI: 10.1126/science.327.5969.1067

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution

Summary

What is the formula for the momentum of light zipping through a transparent material? Physicists have been debating the matter ever since two different formulas were proposed more than 100 years ago. Now a theorist at the University of Strathclyde says he has resolved the famed "Abraham-Minkowski dilemma." Both formulas are correct, he says, but they denote different things and apply in different contexts.