Theoretically would light infinitely bounce, in a room made of perfect mirrors?
Asked by: N.N.
Yes, light would bounce forever in a room made of perfect mirrors. A perfect mirror reflects all
of the light incident on it according to the laws of classical optics. There is no loss through
either transmission of the light or conversion of light energy into another form (atomic
vibrations, etc.). However, this scenario breaks down when real mirrors are used. Since mirrors
are made of atoms, and not perfectly-flat perfectly-reflecting surfaces, all of the light is not
reflected. Thus, light will not bounce forever if we use real mirrors, the light intensity would decrease with each bounce.
Answered by: Andreas Birkedal-Hansen, M.A., Physics Grad Student, UC Berkeley
'There is no inductive method which could lead to the fundamental concepts of physics. Failure to understand this fact constituted the basic philosophical error of so many investigators of the nineteenth century.'