Waves are disturbances that propagate throush space and time. Classically, they travelled through a medium, disturbing the particles but not changing their mean position. Electromagnetic waves/particle-waves need no medium; they are disturbances in their respective fields.

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First-order wave equation: Why is its presence not common?

The (one-dimensional) wave equation is the second-order linear partial differential equation $$\frac{\partial^2 f}{\partial x^2}=\frac{1}{v^2}\frac{\partial^2 f}{\partial t^2}\tag{second order PDE}$$ ...
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1answer
489 views

Why is Huygens' principle only valid in an odd number of spatial dimensions?

Apparently Huygens' principle is only valid in an odd number of spatial dimensions: http://mathoverflow.net/a/5396/21349 Huygen's principle in curved spacetimes Why is this? [EDIT] This is ...
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1answer
739 views

Theory behind patterns formed on Chladni plates?

In this video of vibrating Chladni plates we can see small sand particles align themselves into different interesting patterns (also shown in the image below) which correspond to some particular ...
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2answers
345 views

Which solution to the electromagnetic wave equation is the most accurate model of monochromatic light?

When a photon is modeled as a monochromatic electromagnetic wave its electric and magnetic components are usually taken to be sine waves (for example here ...
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3answers
892 views

What is the mass of a wave?

The slide called "QUANTA" here says that "One Quantum has a definite mass" and the picture shows a wave. So, What is meant by the mass of a wave?
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716 views

Can light waves cause beats?

My question is pretty brief. When two sound waves of nearly same frequencies interfere, we get beats. But, I have not observed something like that happening in the case of light. In fact, most of the ...
8
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2answers
357 views

Are there “gaps” in light, or will it hit everywhere?

Not sure how to word my question. Picture a light source in vacuum, so nothing disturbs the light (or similar conditions), 2d. If I move very, very far away, will it happen that some of the light ...
7
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6answers
434 views

How do traveling waves pass through a standing wave node, if the node doesn't move?

I'm having trouble with the explanation that a standing wave in a string is the superposition of traveling waves. The nodes in the diagram above are points where the particles of the string's ...
7
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1answer
121 views

Minimal Extension of Wave Equation to Include Dispersion

Let's say you are modeling some process with the wave equation $\frac{1}{c^{2}}\frac{\partial^{2}\psi}{\partial t^{2}} = \nabla^{2}\psi$. You wish to improve your model by including dispersive ...
7
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2answers
530 views

How does infrared light 'erase' phosphorescence on zinc sulfide?

I found some sheets of zinc sulfide in my basement that phosphoresce green for up to 24 hours or so after exposure to bright light in the violet range or shorter. One of the first things I tried was ...
6
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1answer
182 views

Is Huygen's Principle Axiomatic?

Is Huygens Principle just a fundamental way to understand light? It always seemed to me that it was somehow "derived" or that it should be-but is it simply a well-founded theory?
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2answers
354 views

Will a wave packet undergo dispersion when traveling down a hanging rope?

Suppose I tie one end of a rope to my ceiling and the other end to a spot on my floor directly underneath it. Because the rope has some mass, the tension varies along the rope, from highest at the ...
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2answers
170 views

In terms of the Doppler effect, what happens when the source is moving faster than the wave?

I'm just trying to understand this problem from a qualitative perspective. The Doppler effect is commonly explained in terms of how a siren sounds higher in pitch as it is approaching a particular ...
4
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1answer
89 views

Discretizing the Wave Equation in polar coordinates

I want to discretize the wave equation $$\frac{1}{c^2}\frac{\partial^2\psi\left(\vec{r},t\right)}{\partial t^2}=\triangle\psi\left(\vec{r},t\right)$$ in polar coordinates. I find the following ...
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1answer
3k views

What is light, and how can it travel in a vacuum forever in all directions at once without a medium?

I know there are many questions that are similar (maybe identical?). I am not a physicist nor a student - I am just interested in physics and have been watching many physics channels on youtube ...
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3answers
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Confused over complex representation of the wave

My quantum mechanics textbook says that the following is a representation of a wave traveling in the +$x$ direction:$$\Psi(x,t)=Ae^{i\left(kx-\omega t\right)}\tag1$$ I'm having trouble visualizing ...
3
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3answers
451 views

waves on water generated by a falling object

Let an object of mass $m$ and volume $v$ be dropped in water from height $h$, and $a$ be the amplitude of the wave generated. What is the relation between $a$ and $h$. How many waves are generated? ...
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2answers
1k views

Energy in an EM wave should depend on frequency

I just finished reading Feynman's Lectures on Physics vol.I, §34-9: "The momentum of light". The author explains that there is a relation between the wave 4-vector $k^{\mu}$ and the energy-momentum ...
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1answer
751 views

Simple Quantum Mechanics question about the Free particle, (part1)

I am reading Introduction to Quantum Mechanics by David Griffiths and I am in Ch2 page 59. He starts out writing the time dependent Schrödinger equation and the solution for $\psi(x,t)$ for the free ...
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1answer
256 views

How far do air particles move when a sound wave passes through them?

How far do air particles move when a sound wave passes through them? I know that they don't actually travel, the question is how far do they oscillate or what is the physical amplitude of the ...
2
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2answers
588 views

Fresnel distance and Geometrical limit

I read about the geometrical limit of wave theory. The source from where I read had a slightly different explanation to provide than here(The more rigorous answer is too complicated for me to ...
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1answer
3k views

Explain the direction of waves on sea shore

Why do waves on the sea shore move towards the shore even when the tide is going out?
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2answers
281 views

A difference between Plane Wave and Collimated?

Collimation is clearly in reference to ray($\vec{k}_{xy}$ vector) orientation unlike waterfront continuity( $\phi_{xy}$ phase shift) described by plane-wave. Not to say that one is not directly ...
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1answer
78 views

How large of a solar sail would be needed to travel to mars in under a year?

I'm attempting to approach this using the identity $$F/A = I/c$$ I can solve for Area easily enough $$A = F(c/I)$$ and I know the distance $d$ is $$d=1/2(at^2)$$ But I'm having difficulty trying to ...
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1answer
537 views

Power radiated by the sun at different locations

I am wondering can someone help to solve second part which extends first part; The power radiated by the sun is ${3.9*10^{26}}_{watt}$. The earth orbits the sun in a nearly circular orbit of radius ...
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1answer
280 views

Eikonal approximation for wave optics. Why follow the unit vector parallel to the Pointing vector?

The description of the passage from wave optics to geometrical optics claims that light rays are the integral curves of a certain vector field (the Pointing vector direction, normalized to 1). Here ...
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2answers
1k views

Questions regarding standing waves

I have two questions regarding mechanical waves. 1) We know that standing waves are created when any wave traveling along the medium will reflect back when they reach the end. But in an open organ ...
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3answers
1k views

Prove EM Waves Are Transverse In Nature

Why we say that EM waves are transverse in nature? I have seen some proofs regarding my question but they all calculate flux through imaginary cube. Here is My REAL problem that I can't here imagine ...
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4answers
3k views

Waves in water always circular

I have had a question since childhood. Why do we always get circular waves (ripples) in water even when we throw irregularly shaped object in it?
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5answers
854 views

Superposition of electromagnetic waves

The superposition of two waves is given by $$\sin(\omega_1 t)+\sin(\omega_2 t)=2\cos\left(\frac{\omega_1-\omega_2}{2}t\right)\sin\left(\frac{\omega_1+\omega_2}{2}t\right).$$ For sound waves, this ...
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2answers
182 views

Relaxation time for deviations from spherical shape of a black hole's event horizon (and waves)

A different question about truly spherical objects in nature (Do spheres exist in nature?) made me think of a lecture I had been at where, as I recall, it was mentioned that the most perfectly ...
5
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2answers
461 views

What are the normal modes of a vertical rope?

Closely related to this question on traveling waves on a hanging rope, I would also like to know what the normal modes are on a rope that hangs vertically, fixed at both ends. Tension in the rope ...
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1answer
764 views

Why do sound waves travel at the same speed moleculewise? (Same medium)

I don't understand what happens in reality (outside of wave theories). If I clap my hands I invest energy in the nearby air molecules, which move and transfer their energy to nearby molecules which ...
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3answers
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Are two waves being in phase is the same as saying that the two waves are coherent?

If two waves are coherent, is it the same as them being in phase? Please correct if I'm wrong.
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3answers
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Why is there a 90˚ phase angle between particle velocity and sound pressure in spherical waves?

My text says that in a plane sound wave (or in the far field), particle velocity and pressure is in phase. As we move closer to the sound source (to near field and more spherical waves), the phase ...
3
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2answers
139 views

Huygen's principle in curved spacetimes

Does Huygen's principle hold in even dimensional (2m+1,1) curved spacetimes, or are there certain necessary conditions for it to hold? In other words, if I have Cauchy data for a field satisfying the ...
3
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1answer
118 views

Boundary conditions on wave equation

I am having trouble understanding the boundary conditions. From the solutions, the first is that $D_1(0, t) = D_2(0, t)$ because the rope can't break at the junction. The second is that ...
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3answers
1k views

How is electromagnetic wave variation distributed in space?

Imagine an electromagnetic wave (a monochromatic one for example) The electric field amplitude, and its variations travel in the propagation direction. So, if there really exists a propagation ...
2
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2answers
79 views

Photons and Absorption

Hello and thanks for reading my question: Imagine we send one photon at an atom, and it happens to be the right frequency such that it gets absorbed fully by an electron in this atom. Obviously that ...
2
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1answer
147 views

Red color has largest wavelenght and violet minimum (in the range of visible light). then why does violet light appears reddish? RED + BLUE = VIOLET [duplicate]

My question is simple. Green light is more similar to red light than violet, then why is violet reddish and green not? in the language of frequencies and wavelengths, red and violet should contrast ...
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2answers
1k views

Why does noise affect FM radio less than AM?

Frequency modulated waves are less susceptible to noise compared to amplitude modulated signal. This is because the information in an FM signal is transmitted through varying the frequency, and not ...
2
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0answers
410 views

Chladni Plate Mathematics

I am a high school student doing an IB Extended Essay investigation concerning the resonant frequencies of Chladni plates of differing materials and sizes. Would someone please explain the definition ...
2
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1answer
217 views

Isn't the front edge of a wave, kind of “information” which travels faster than light?

Considering the definition of phase and group velocities, We know group velocity can't exceed C but phase velocity can be infinitely high. Assume a monochromatic electromagnetic wave traveling with a ...
2
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0answers
379 views

The physical meaning of electromagnetic wave

What, fundamentally, is an electromagnetic wave? As far as I know, all wave phenomena are derivations of an oscillating processes, e.g. particles vibrating in a medium. I can't imagine a wave process ...
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2answers
2k views

How does the energy in a standing wave travel beyond a node?

In a standing wave, how does energy travel past a node? It should just get reflected. Assume the case of first overtone and you strike the string at a place. How will energy distribute itself? If it ...
2
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2answers
1k views

What characterizes a metallic sound, and why do metals have a metallic sound?

We know that when we strike a metal, it usually has a characteristic "sharp" sound, unlike when we strike wood, say. What characterizes this "metallic sound"? Does it have a well-defined power ...
2
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1answer
150 views

Reflected and refracted wave sphased

When we derive refraction and reflection laws for a generical plane wave on a surface, we say that reflected and refracted must be in phase with the incident wave. Why a medium cannot do a sphased ...
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1answer
128 views

Why maximum energy transfer at natural frequency even if max amplitude occurs below $f_0$

This is a paragraph from my book: "For a damped system, the resonant frequency at which the amplitude is a maximum is lower than the natural frequency.However, maximum transfer of energy, or energy ...
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223 views

How could electromagnetic waves propagate through space although they have no electrons?

How could electric fields in these waves propagate through space although in space there's no electrons for the electric field to be formed? is there another type of charged particles that carry the ...
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0answers
68 views

Rotate the phase of a wavelet

Let's take a zero-phase Ricker wavelet which is given by: $$ \psi(t)=\frac{2}{\sqrt{3\sigma}\pi^{1/4}}\left(1-\frac{t^2}{\sigma^2}\right)e^{-t^2/2\sigma^2} $$ in the time domain which is often used ...