Models of Plane and Spherical Waves

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IT is very easy to form a mental picture of the displacements in an isotropic elastic solid transmitting a plane transverse wave. Alternate planes of constant phase are sheared relatively to one another, as explained in Schuster's “Optics”, § 12. If this be a correct representation of the process of transmission, it should be possible to apply a similar method to the alternate spherical shells in the transmission of a spherical wave. The shears must obviously possess symmetry about the point centre of the disturbance, since the waves are transmitted uniformly in every direction. This appears to me to be impossible; but if such-shears are impossible in a spherical wave it is absurd to apply them to a particular case of the spherical wave, viz. a plane wave. Will some kind friend please explain?

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D., J. Models of Plane and Spherical Waves. Nature 78, 570 (1908) doi:10.1038/078570b0

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