Author(s): Loudon R, Baxter C
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Abstract The name of Poynting is universally recognized for his development of the well-known expression for the flow of electromagnetic energy. Not so well known is Poynting's series of papers on radiation pressure, with 2011 marking the centenary of the last of his 15 publications on this topic. This paper reviews and assesses his radiation-pressure work, with a level of coverage aimed at the reader familiar with the Maxwell electromagnetic theory and interested in the current understanding of radiation pressure. We begin with brief details of Poynting's life, followed by accounts of the relevant publications by others before and during his period of activity in the field from 1903 to 1911. His contributions to the understanding of radiation-pressure effects in the solar system, and the linear and angular momenta of light are discussed, with evaluations from a modern perspective.
This article was published in Proc Math Phys Eng Sci
and referenced in Journal of Aeronautics & Aerospace Engineering