Physics 2000 Science Trek Polarization

Polarizing Filters

Polarization is everywhere in daily life. It is an important principle enabling many familiar things to work the way they do, from sunglasses to digital watches and laptop screens.

What does polarization have to do with sunglasses?

A lot. For example, fishermen often wear polarizing sunglasses to try to reduce reflected glare off of the surface of the water. You've probably noticed this before when you've been at the beach. Try an experiment and see for yourself, but remember to check that you really have a pair of polarizing sunglasses. Most sunglasses are not polarized.

Polarizing Filter


Click and drag on the lens to turn it.
Click outside the lens to move it.

That seems weird. If the lens is vertical, all of the sunlight reflected off of the water comes through. If the lens is horizontal, none of the reflected light comes through. Why does it matter which way I hold the lens?



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