Arnold Sommerfeld's Mathematische Theorie der Diffraction marks a milestone in optical theory, full of insights that are still relevant today. In a stunning tour de force, Sommerfeld derives the first mathematically rigorous solution of an optical diffraction problem. Indeed, his diffraction analysis is a surprisingly rich and complex mix of pure and applied mathematics, and his often-cited diffraction solution is presented only as an application of a much more general set of mathematical results. The body of Sommerfeld's work is devoted to the systematic development of a method for deriving solutions of the wave equation on Riemann surfaces, a fascinating but perhaps underappreciated topic in mathematical physics.
Mathematical Theory of Diffraction
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