Ray Tracing and Beyond

Ray Tracing and Beyond is an encyclopedic and scholarly work on the linear theory of dispersive vector waves, summarizing the general theory developed over the careers of four leading practitioners and teachers in theoretical plasma physics. It seems destined to become a ‘must-read’ classic for graduate students and researchers, not only specialists in plasma physics (a field which involves a myriad of wave problems in nonuniform media) but also the many other physicists and applied mathematicians working on problems involving waves. — Robert L. Dewar, Australian National University

This complete introduction to the use of modern ray-tracing techniques in plasma physics describes the powerful mathematical methods generally applicable to vector wave equations in nonuniform media, and clearly demonstrates the application of these methods to simplify and solve important problems in plasma wave theory.

Key analytical concepts are carefully introduced as needed, encouraging the development of a visual intuition for the underlying methodology, with more advanced mathematical concept succinctly explained in appendices, and supporting MATLAB code available online. Covering variational principles, covariant formulations, caustics, tunneling, mode conversion, weak dissipation, wave emission from coherent sources, incoherent wave fields, and collective wave absorption and emission, all within an accessible framework using standard plasma physics notation, this is an invaluable resource for graduate students and researchers in plasma physics.

Available from Cambridge University Press here.

My co-authors are:

  • Alain Brizard, of Saint Michael’s College in Burlington, VT.
  • Allan Kaufman, UC Berkeley, retired.
  • Steve Richardson, of the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC.