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There's nothing wrong with the first order wave equation mathematically, but it's just a little boring. If you want to use this equation to describe waves, it basically amounts to having a 1d solid with speed of sound $v$ for left moving waves (say) and speed of sound $0$ for right moving waves. It wouldn't surprise me if such a thing could be constructed ...


There are a few reasons I can think of: (1) The second order system is that it is time-reversible. If you let $t\to-t$, you get $$ \frac{\partial^2f}{\partial(-t)^2}=\frac{\partial^2f}{\partial t^2}=v^2\frac{\partial^2f}{\partial x^2} $$ whereas the first order system has $$ \frac{\partial f}{\partial(-t)}=-\frac{\partial f}{\partial t}=\pm v\frac{\partial ...


Eh. It's like saying that Maxwell's equations are incomplete because they allow similar solutions. If you start spacetime out with radiation, that radiation will propogate. Just like if you have a universe containing nothing but a light pulse, that pulse will propogate.

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