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
'Physicists like to think that all you have to do is say, these are the conditions, now what happens next?'