, Volume 27, Issue 1–2, pp 1–18 | Cite as

The three faces of Maxwell’s equations

  • N Mukunda
  • E C G Sudarshan
Electromagnetics, Statistical Mechanics And General Relativity


In dealing with electromagnetic phenomena and in particular the phenomena of optics, despite the recognition of the quanta of light people tend to talk of the amplitudes and field strengths, as if the electromagnetic field were a classical field. For example we measure the wavelength of light by studying interference fringes. In this paper we study the interrelationship of three ways of looking at the problem: in terms of classical wave fields, wave function of the photon; and the quantized wave field. The comparison and contrasts of these three modes of description are carefully analyzed in this paper. The ways in which these different modes complement our intuition and insight are also discussed.


Maxwell’s equations photon wavefunction coherent states quantized Maxwell field 


3.50 41.10 


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Copyright information

© the Indian Academy of Sciences 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • N Mukunda
    • 1
  • E C G Sudarshan
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Theoretical Studies and Department of PhysicsIndian Institute of ScienceBangaloreIndia
  2. 2.Institute of Mathematical SciencesMadrasIndia

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