Waves are disturbances that propagate through 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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Ultrasonic wave through air

I am not a physicist but I am extremely interested in this area. The simple version of my question is: "What is the maximum range of an ultrasonic wave traveling through air?" Now, I know it depends ...
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How to calculate the intensity of the interference of two waves in a given point? [closed]

There are two different point sources which produce spherical waves with the same power, amplitude, ω, wavenumber and phase. I can calculate the intensity of each wave in a point: $$ I_1 = P / (4 ...
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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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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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If a tree falls in the forest [closed]

The question of whether or not a tree that falls in the forest makes a sound - if there is nothing or no one around to hear it - comes up frequently at my house. So, my question is: is there any way ...
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How can shock waves travel faster than sound?

A shock wave can be caused by the disturbance of air by an airplane. When it propagates, shouldn't the mechanism be the same as that of a longitudinal sound wave? Why can a shock travel faster than ...
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365 views

Why do rain waves form and what is their connection to the texture of the surface they're on?

When it rains and water flows down an inclined street, ripples may form that are carried along with the current. Here's a picture with an example of what I'm talking about I'd like to know what the ...
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Boundary layer theory in fluids learning resources

I'm trying to understand boundary layer theory in fluids. All I've found are dimensional arguments, order of magnitude arguments, etc... What I'm looking for is more mathematically sound arguments. ...
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Are water waves (i.e. on the surface of the ocean) longitudinal or transverse?

I'm convinced that water waves for example: are a combination of longitudinal and transverse. Any references or proofs of this or otherwise?
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What is a wave?

I was watching an outtake of Prof. Brian Cox talking to a tv producer about "gravity waves". Their discussion got a bit side-tracked, because the non-scientist didn't seem to understand what a wave ...
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Why doesn't the magnetic field polarize when polarizing light?

If the magnetic field doesn't polarize does it follow the electric field path of propagation? or does it vanish?
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Diffraction by a lens

The fraunhoffer treatment of circular apertures yields a diffraction pattern of circles, with the first minimum (dark ring) at an angular radius of $\theta$ where $\sin(\theta)=1.22\lambda/b$, where ...
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The energy of an electromagnetic wave

The intensity of an electromagnetic wave is only related to its amplitude $E^2$ and not its frequency. A photon has the same wavelength as the wave that's carrying it, and its energy is $h f$. So ...
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Is the wobbly rope depiction of a radio wave inherently wrong? And how do vectors of parallel waves align with each other?

I don't have a scientific education, yet I'm scientifically curious. Among other things, I'm struggling to understand the nature of electromagnetic waves. What I have recently realized is that the ...
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1answer
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Science behind the singing wine glass

A wine glass filled with water (approximately half or a quarter), when you use a wet finger and rub the top of the wine glass, the wine glass will produce a sound. I heard that it is because of the ...
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36 views

Is difference in wave number always small?

Over the last few days I have been looking at a derivation of group velocity. The derivation is the one shown in this question Deriving group velocity. I have seen this derivation in many places, and ...
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1answer
114 views

Nonlinear Dirac's Equation?

Are there any nonlinear variations of Dirac's Equation analogous to the Nonlinear Schrodinger Equation, that have been studied and published in any mainstream journals or books? Perhaps such a ...
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2answers
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Refraction of light and frequency dependence

Why do higher frequency waves refract more, both ocean waves and light waves? Also why is energy stored in the frequency as opposed to the wavelength.
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Derivation of group velocity?

In the standard simplified derivation of group velocity (which can be found here) we use two waves $$y_1=A\sin(K_1x-\omega_1 t)$$ $$y_2=A\sin(K_2x-\omega_2 t)$$ In the proof we then get ...
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209 views

Amplitude and phase in vector wave field

Is it possible to make some separation of amplitudes and phase for a general vector-wave field? For example, like a paraxial approximation of a complex scalar field of the form $$\Phi(x,y,z) = ...
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599 views

Deriving the group velocity of a wave produced by some basic cosine waves with unequal amplitudes

Consider some basic cosine waves of the form ${E_i} = {E_0}\cos ({\omega _i}t - {k_i}z)$ with different amplitudes, frequencies and phases. We know a combination of such waves could result in a wave ...
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328 views

Help me to visualize this wave equation in time, to which direction it moves?

The wave is $\bar{E} = E_{0} sin(\frac{2\pi z}{\lambda} + wt) \bar{i} + E_{0} cos(\frac{2 \pi z}{\lambda}+wt) \bar{j}$ Let's simplify with $z = 1$. Now the xy-axis is defined by parametrization ...
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Electro Magnetic Waves can cause matter displacement?

After watching this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1jIjx0XF_U The experience is made with a speaker that generates a sound wave or mechanic wave. Can you use this to establish a link to ...
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Since cables carry electricity moving at the speed of light, why aren't computer networks much faster?

Why can't cables used for computer networking transfer data really fast, say at the speed of light? I ask this because electricity travels at the speed of light. Take Ethernet cables for example, I ...
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Why does wavelength affect diffraction?

I have seen many questions of this type but I could nowhere find the answer to "why". I know this is a phenomenon which has been seen and discovered and we know it happens and how it happens. But my ...
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Why don't two musical instruments sometimes generate destructive interference?

I'm an electrical engineer, and I understand wave propagation, interference patterns, and so on. But I'm missing something basic, so perhaps my understanding isn't as good as I believe. I'll show my ...
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Are gravitational waves longitudinal or transverse?

Waves are generally classified as either transverse or longitudinal depending on the they way the propagated quantity is oriented with respect to the direction of propagation. Then what is a ...
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Why doesn't the motion of a car affect the frequency of radio stations?

When we go in a car and tune to an FM radio station, why doesn't our motion disturb the frequency? Like the Doppler effect?
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Is the existence of electromagnetic standing waves dependent on the observers reference frame?

If I take two plane EM waves travelling in opposite direction e.g. $E = E_0 \sin(kx-\omega t)$ and $E=E_0 \sin (kx + \omega t)$, they sum to give a standing wave with a time-averaged Poynting vector ...
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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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684 views

What determines the speed of waves in water?

While I was walking my dog this morning, I passed over a canal filled with boats, barges, and kayaks all of different masses and moving at different speeds. I noticed that all of these vessels left ...
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846 views

Physics of how the cochlea isolates frequencies along its length?

Can anyone explain the separation of frequencies along the basilar membrane of the cochlea please? (equations would be nice) I understand it being related to the resistance caused by fluid in the ...
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Can light emit light?

How and why does the Huygens principle really work? I mean, does it always work? The Huygens principle: Every point on a wave-front may be considered a source of secondary spherical wavelets ...
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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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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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Why doesn't amplitude affect the speed of sound?

I understand why amplitude doesn't affect the speed of the sound AFTER the 'leading compression'. The extra force provided on one stage of the cycle is countered on the other stage. But shouldn't the ...
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Speed of sound at temperatures below 0 °C

How can the speed of sound be calculated for temperatures below 0 °C (down to -40 °C)? Does the calculation $v=331\ \frac{m}{s} + 0.6 \frac{m}{s°C} \times T$ still hold (where T's unit is ...
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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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Do Electromagnetic Waves really propagate through continuous Induction?

I've often seen it said that in an Electromagnetic Wave the changing Electric Field component creates the Magnetic Field Component and the changing Magnetic Field Component in turn creates an Electric ...
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Speed of sound and Break the sound barrier

What happens when plane exceeds the speed of sound? and What is the interpretation of the conical shape that appears behind the plane?
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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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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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The ubiquitous Planewave Ansatz

In physics, the planewave ansatz (meaning: an educated solution guess) is very ubiquitously used, when solving differential equations, in different domains of physics. E.g. to solve the dispersion ...
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246 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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If EM waves are not physical, positional waves (on a X,Y,Z axis), why does interference pattern appear positional?

I have read that EM waves propagate in straight lines: https://van.physics.illinois.edu/qa/listing.php?id=17699 Wherein the only the electric (E) and magnetic (B) fields to change (or oscillate) at ...
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Would passing horizontally polarized light through a varying width vertical slit allow you to measure the positional (x) amplitude of light? [duplicate]

I have found closely related questions on StackExchange, but (surprisingly) not this exact question. Seems some answers say individual photons do not have amplitude, only when traveling with other ...
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1answer
330 views

Relationship between temperature and wavelength?

I am investigating the relationship between wavelength and temperature. As seen the figure below of Planks law What is the relationship between the lambda(max) and Temperature? or in simpler ...
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1answer
901 views

Slinky reverb: the origin of the iconic Star Wars blaster sound

This is a fun problem that I came across recently, which I'm posting here for your delectation. We all love a good slinky: they can be used for all sorts of fun demos in physics. One example is the ...
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Complex numbers in optics

I have recently studied optics. But I feel having missed something important: how can amplitudes of light waves be complex numbers?
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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 ...