A scalar theory of surface scattering phenomena has been formulated by utilizing the same Fourier techniques that have proven so successful in the area of image formation. An analytical expression has been obtained for a surface transfer function which relates the surface micro-roughness to the scattered distribution of radiation from that surface. The existence of such a transfer function implies a shift-invariant scattering function which does not change shape with the angle of the incident beam. This is a rather significant development which has profound implications regarding the quantity of data required to completely characterize the scattering properties of a surface. This theory also provides a straight-forward solution to the inverse scattering problem (i.e., determining surface characteristics from scattered light measurements) and results in a simple method of predicting the wave length dependence of the scattered light distribution. Both theoretical and experimental results will be presented along with a discussion of the capabilities and limitations of this treatment of surface scatter phenomena.