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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Differences of waves in water and air

When one drops a pebble in a body of water, one can observe multiple waves emanating from the point the pebble came in contact with water. Be it because the water "jumps" up and comes back down, ...
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What's the optimal shape for a continuous Galilean Cannon?

A Galilean Cannon is a toy similar to the famous basketball-and-tennis-ball demonstration. You take a tennis ball, balance it on top a basketball, and drop them both. The tennis ball will bounce up to ...
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Do mechanical waves travel in straight lines?

Electromagnetic waves travel in straight lines but do all waves travel in straight lines?
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The relationship between the energy and amplitude of a wave? Derivation?

From multiple online sources I read that $$E \propto A^2$$ but when I mentioned this in class, my teacher told me I was wrong and that it was directly proportional to amplitude instead. As far as I ...
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Matter waves - DeBroglie's relations

I am currently studying from Modern Physics for Scientists and Engineers by Taylor et al. They derive the DeBroglie relation $p=h/\lambda$ from setting mass $m=0$ in the energy-momentum relation ...
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Why do we think of light as a wave?

I've read that light travels in a straight line and has a wavelength of 400nm to 700nm. But I don't understand why does it have a wavelength and what creates its wavelength? I agree with the concept ...
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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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Normal modes of a flexible rod clamped at only one point

I am interested in the vibrations of a thin, flexible rod that would only be clamped at one point, properly I'd like to calculate its eigenvalue. But the way I learned it in wave mechanics doesn't ...
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Why can't light pass through walls but sound can?

When I sit in a room I can hear voices coming from the adjacent room but the light in adjacent room does not enter my room i.e. sound waves travels through the wall but light waves can't. Why?
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What is the dominant cause for ocean waves at a beach?

What is the dominant cause for ocean waves at a beach? Are they the result of wind/pressure difference? If so, the waves do seem to exist in similar intensity even during relative quiet times of the ...
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244 views

Can wind blowing on smooth water create speckle interference patterns?

On a calm smooth lake, or even a large rain puddle, I've seen transient rough patches on the surface suddenly appear and disappear, and sometimes move across the water some distance before ...
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The Effects of Moving Matter Across Light-Year distances

If I were to stand at one end of a light-year long metal pole, and another person were to stand one light-year away at the other end, and then I were to push on my end of the pole. How long would it ...
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Physical interpretation of Parseval's theorem

I have read that Parseval's theorem, relating the norm of a function $f$ and the norm of its Fourier transform $g(k)$: \begin{equation} \int |f(x)|^2 dx=\int|g(k)|^2 dk \end{equation} has the ...
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How to predict sea waves length/height?

I would like to know which are the best methods used to predict sea waves characteristics (particularly predict length/height given water depth and wind speed) and how are they used. My major is ...
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345 views

Interference of EM Waves with Orbital Angular Momentum

If you have two coherent collinear e-m beams of same frequency and polarization, but 180 degrees out of phase, they will destructively interfere. If you introduce orbital angular momentum of L=3 ...
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How is a one position shift of an interferometer fringe pattern defined?

When Michelson and Morley conducted their 1887 interferometer experiment, they were expecting a fringe pattern shift of 0.4 (see the chart at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michelson-Morley_experiment). ...
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1D Wave mechanics (string)

Suppose I have a wave traveling to the right described by $e^{iw(t-{x\over c})}$. (It obeys the 1D wave equation). AND at $x=0$, there is a mass $M$ fixed to the string such that we have $M{d^2y\over ...
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What's the difference between exchange spin wave and magnetostatic spin wave?

So far I've heard of three kinds of spin waves Magnetostatic spin waves (MSW) Dipole-exchange spin waves (DESW) Exchange spin waves (ESW) What's the difference?
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Hankel function in terms of planewaves [closed]

It is well know that planewaves are a complete basis for solutions to the wave equation. Let us assume a 2D space, and at fixed temporal frequency, the equation reduces to the Helmholtz equation. In ...
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How is the speed of light calculated?

How is the speed of light calculated? My knowledge of physics is limited to how much I studied till high school. One way that comes to my mind is: if we throw light from one point to another (of known ...
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Do light and sound waves have mass

I have been reading Hawking's 'A Brief History of Time' and it has gotten me thinking about Einstein's theory of relativity, in that it assumes that an object must have infinite mass if it is to be ...
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678 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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how to add two plane waves if they are propagating in different direction?

In the undergraduate course about the wave, there stated for two harmonic waves propagating in opposite direction, then the resulting wave will be a standing wave. In math, it is like $$y_1 = ...
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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 ...
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When polarized light hits a polarizer, what happens to the polarization which is not transmitted?

It is typically said that in polarization of light only those waves can pass through a polaroid which has a plane of vibration parallel to the axis of polaroid. My question is: what happens to the ...
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Third order optical mixing

It's pretty straight-forward to visualise second-order non-linear optical mixing processes in which two waves of frequencies $\omega_{1}$ and $\omega_{2}$ mix up to generate new waves of different ...
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“Complex Variables Method” in Diff. Eq. - Justification and physical meaning?

A common method of simplifying calculations that involve differential equations - particularly involving oscillation - is to replace $\cos(\theta)$ with $e^{i \omega t}$, evaluate, and then take the ...
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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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Knowing when wavefunction collapses

So I learned that after a measurement of, lets say the position of the wavefunction of a particle is made, if another measurement of the position of the particle is made right away, you should get the ...
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Calculating the mass of a wave of water

I am assuming it is possible to calculate the mass of water if the volume is known. My assumption is that doing this for stagnant water, in a container perhaps, is easy. However I want calculate, ...
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246 views

Why do we must initially assume that the wavefunction is complex?

The sound waves are real, and they can interfere, so corresponding apparat may be used in quantum mechanics. We also may use the time dependence in a form of orthogonal matrix multiplying the initial ...
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physical difference between A and B

We all know that when we say A it sounds different than when we say B. I was wondering what exactly can be the difference between saying A and B in terms of physics. I first thought that it may due ...
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227 views

Does $\lambda\nu = c$ hold for all the waves in the universe?

Are all waves in the universe the same as electromagnetic waves? Basically, my question arises from an equation I found in my chemistry textbook: $$\lambda \nu ~=~ c.$$ This states that the ...
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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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Do non-metal objects reduce the signal strength of a computer wireless network device?

Would an object like a wooden bed interfere or block the signal coming from a 802.11 wireless router?
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Why is the water on one side of a bridge choppy?

My daily commute take me across the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge on Lake Washington. I have noticed on several occasions that the water on the southern side of the bridge will be quite choppy ...
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If the k of a wave is negative, is the wavelength negative too?

My friend went to an interview for a reputed scholarship program and was asked this question. A wave has an equation $a\sin(\omega t-kx)$. Sometimes k surely can become -ve. We know that ...
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Do electromagnetic waves have endpoints?

When learning about electromagnetic waves at school we never talked about any endpoints as we did with standing waves, so I assumed that light has an endless length, but that doesn't make sense. So my ...
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Why do longitudinal waves travel faster than transverse waves?

I have learned that if a medium can transmit longitudinal waves and transverse waves, then the longitudinal wave will travel faster. Why is this the case?
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Is there a way to create a flickering frequency to be dependent on speed of the person looking at it?

Is there a way to make a screen or a road sign flash at different rates, depending on the velocity of the observer looking at it? I would like to achieve a state where two observers going at ...
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How can sound waves propagate through air?

We know that the sound waves propagate through air, and it can't travel through vacuum. so the thing that help it doing that is the air's molecules pressure. So my question how can that happens? I ...
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Speed of a particle in quantum mechanics: phase velocity vs. group velocity

Given that one usually defines two different velocities for a wave, these being the phase velocity and the group velocity, I was asking their meaning for the associated particle in quantum mechanics. ...
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What is it that undulates in a particle?

When there is a wave, something is undulating. In the example of a rope, the rope is what undulates. In the case of a ripple on a pond, the water is undulating, and when a sound wave propagates, the ...
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Can atmospheric pressure literally push electromagnetic waves?

I work for an IT company and some time ago we had an issue with our wireless internet. We are 5 miles away from the ISP's antenna. Our Sys Admin expressed the view that the electromagnetic waves are ...
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Why does a light wave invert at a boundary with greater index of refraction?

Is there a reason why a EM wave reflects invertedly when it meets a boundary point with a greater index of refraction. In the case of ropes, if remember correctly, the reason why it inverts is to ...
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Is it better to call the doppler effect a change in wavelength or frequency?

Why is it preferable to say that the doppler effect causes a shift in frequency rather than a shift in wavelength? I often read on websites that they define the doppler effect as a change in ...
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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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537 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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Particles vs Waves

As I remember long ago, in my physics classes, I always had a great trouble understanding the concept of waves. Our professor used to explain, as if everything in this world is made up of waves. ...
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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 ...