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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A basic question on the derivation of the wave equation

Today I saw the derivation of the wave equation in class, and I did not understand the following step. We are modeling a uniform-density string as being made up of tiny masses spaced a small amount ...
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Why a minus in the equation of a paraxial plane wave?

paraxial plane wave = $\exp{(-jkz)}$ for waves propagating to the right I can't figure out why it's not $\exp{(+jkz)}$. Any help would be greatly appreciated, thank you.
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The physics of sound boards

As a kid I was bemused at why soundboards worked. A small sound could be demonstrably amplified simply by attaching the source to a surface that is rigid and not too thick. How could the volume ...
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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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340 views

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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125 views

More extensions of the wave equation for dispersion

The Phys.SE question Minimal Extension of Wave Equation to Include Dispersion extended the wave equation for only a very simple form of dispersion. However, what about more complex dispersion ...
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References on wave solutions in continuum mechanics [closed]

I am interested in literature on known wave solutions in continnum mechanics, precisely the following mechanical equation: $$\rho\partial_t^2u_i = C_{ijkl}\nabla_j\nabla_ku_{l}$$ My interest is spread ...
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235 views

Sound Wave Propagation: Why HF are more specular while LF are more omni

The propagation of high frequencies sound waves is more directional (specular), and they don't diffract as much as low frequencies. Low-frequencies diffract and thus propagate in a more omni-spherical ...
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191 views

Earthquake as a transverse wave

I have a very simple mental picture that earthquake waves travel like shear (transverse) waves through the earth. a. Does the speed of this wave give any valuable information about the mechanical ...
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why is mechanical waves faster in denser medium while EM waves slower?

Why is it that mechanical waves/longitudinal waves/sound travel faster in a denser/stiffer medium as in steel compared to say air, while EM waves/trasverse waves/light travels slower in a (optically) ...
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130 views

Wave equation for sound waves and moving source

Is there a way to take a moving source already into account when one derives the wave equation for sound waves and derive from that using only math the Doppler effect for moving sources?
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66 views

Locations of destructive interference for two spherical waves

I have looked at this, but it did not help with locations. Really this just comes down to mathematical manipulation, which for some reason I fail to see. Here is my paraphrased setup: Consider two ...
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81 views

A theory about a travelling wave due to a vibrating rope seems to be contradictory, please spot what is wrong?

Consider a travelling wave produced by vibrating one end of a rope while the other end is made to freely move along a vertical line. Mathematically, the equation of the traveling wave that also ...
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212 views

Are matter waves transverse and can they be polarized?

Are matter waves transverse and can they be polarized? What I know:I'm aware of the de Broglie matter waves hypothesis and de Broglie wavelength relation(at a very basic level as part of high school ...
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316 views

Does thin film interference (anti-reflective coating) let more light through?

The theory of an anti-reflective coating is that the reflected light off the coating and the reflected light off the substrate is 180 degrees out of phase, causing destructive interference and ...
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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 ...
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198 views

Electric field Fourier decomposition

I have the following decomposition for the electric component of light: $$\renewcommand{\vec}[1]{\mathbf{#1}}\vec{E}(\vec r)=\frac1{4\pi^2} \iint_\Omega \vec A(k_x, k_y) \mathrm{e}^{i \vec{k} \cdot ...
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121 views

Numerical simulation of sound propagation in air

How does one go about accurately modeling sound propagation in a room (with reflections, absorption, and diffusion characteristics) from the motion of a loud speaker? More specifically what are the ...
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1k views

A Doppler Effect problem with a moving medium

I tried solving the following question and started having multiple doubts: Two cars A and B are moving towards each other with some speed $25$ m/s. Wind is blowing with speed $5$ m/s in the ...
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132 views

Can you “fold” EM or light waves? (i.e) long wave that is reflected by mirror in fragments - like in the game “Snake”

So, I was reading about the Casimir effect. Two mirrors facing each other attract to each other in a vacuum. The reason is due to pressure exerted on those mirrors from the multitude of EM waves (like ...
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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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286 views

Wave pulse on a freely falling rope

Consider a rope hanging from the ceiling (massive / massless irrelevant, I suppose). A wave pulse is set up on the rope. Just as the wave pulse starts propagating on this rope, the top of the rope is ...
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Group Velocity and Phase Velocity of Matter Wave?

In quantum mechanics, what is the difference between group velocity and phase velocity of matter wave? How can it also be that phase velocity of matter wave always exceeds the speed of light?
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282 views

Lorentz invariance of a frequency- and wavelength- dependent dielectric tensor

Suppose we have a material described by a dielectric tensor $\bar{\epsilon}$. In frequency domain, this tensor depends on the wave frequency $\omega$ and the wave vector $\vec{k}$. Clearly not all ...
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359 views

Frequency response of infinite line source

Let's say I have an infinite line source in 3d wave medium, like a pulsating cylinder, emitting a broadband noisy signal. I know that the pressure falls off at 3 dB per doubling in distance, unlike a ...
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“Derivation” of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle

Ok, so I posted this in the mathematics StackExchange, but got no response. The question I outline below is my textbook's "derivation" of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. The "derivation" my ...
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158 views

Relationship between slit size and wavelength in diffraction

Almost in every book on physics we can find a statement like "diffraction gets stronger when the size of the slit is comparable to the wavelength". Let's say we have a wall in a bathtub with a slit in ...
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How does one determine whether an object will make an EM wave refract in a qualitative way?

for example, i have a vague notion that the actual answer is that the permittivity and permisivity are different in each different material, so all waves refract at every boundary, but we only call it ...
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Why are AC quantities represented by sine waves always?

Usually we use a sinusoidal wave form to represent a alternating quantity. Why not a cosinusoidal wave or a ramp wave form? In sine wave forms we can indicate the maximum and minimum amplitude and ...
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637 views

coherence length

Suppose i have two waves emanating from a point source. The waves start out completely in phase. Is the coherence length consistently defined as the length at which these two waves achieve a phase ...
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173 views

Nonlinear waves superposition

Non-linear waves do not superimpose to each other, but why? What characteristics give this property?
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272 views

A question on intereference experiment with water waves as given in the Feynman Lectures on Physics

I have a question related to the interference (thought)experiment with water waves given in the book Feynman Lectures on Physics Vol.3. When only one hole (hole 1) is open the measured wave intensity ...
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Spherical wave as sum of plane waves

How can we do this computation? $\iiint_{R^3} \frac{e^{ik'r}}{r} e^{ik_1x+k_2y+k_3z}dx dy dz$ where $r=\sqrt{x^2+y^2+z^2}$ ? I think we must use distributions... Physically, it's equivalent to ...
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Pressure in waves on a string

We know that when we speak sound waves are created. The air particles compress and rarefy and pressure is more at the nodes and less at anti-nodes. But can we say the same thing about waves on a ...
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Does interference take place only in waves parallel to each other?

The title says it all but I will add some details. I believe that interference takes place only in waves which are parallel to each other. See the picture to understand what I mean by parallel. We ...
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98 views

Could submarine SONAR kill a diver?

Could a diver swimming next to a submarine be killed or seriously injured by its SONAR? What physical aspect of SONAR affects the human body in a potential harmful way?
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Why do light disappears the moment we switch off the source (inside the wooden box)?

I am failing to explain why light won't remain inside the wooden box in the following situation. I considered a wooden box closed from all the sides, with a bulb inside it. If we switch on the bulb, ...
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195 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 ...
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What's a good textbook to learn about waves and oscillations?

I'm taking a course on waves and oscillations using Crawford from the Berkeley series (out of print excluding international copies), and would like to know if anyone has any suggestions for a better ...
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72 views

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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196 views

Can light be canceled by merging with an inverted wave?

Can light waves be canceled by merging them with their inverted waves? Seems like it would violate conservation of energy but waves are added together when they overlap, right? Where is the flaw in ...
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What is the history behind the factors of 3 in the classification of electromagnetic radiation?

What is the history behind the factors of 3 in the classification of electromagnetic radiation? See e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_spectrum#By_frequency Is this (just) inherited from the ...
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Does space have to be filled with charged particles to carry electromagnetic waves?

I'm a newbie here so have mercy. I'm studying electromagnetic waves. This is the propagation of energy via the vibration of charged particles, as I understand it. A charged particle could be like ...
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Wave / particle duality question for sound and light

Sound is usually referred to as just "sound waves" - we do not talk about a "sound particle" and only as a wave or "matter wave." Could something similar apply to light i.e. that there really is no ...
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56 views

Does timbre consist in pitch and volume?

I read that the physical properties of a sound wave correspond to its audible qualities: pitch, volume, and timbre. However, an oscilloscope uses only two-dimensions to accurately depict the physical ...
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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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280 views

Can frequency be equal to 0?

Is correct to speak about frequency equal to 0 ? $$f= \frac{1}{t} $$ If $t\rightarrow\infty$ can I consider that the frequency is equal to 0 ?
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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 ...
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106 views

Is information about the speed of light hidden in its spectrum?

Can the speed of light in the vacuum (c) be inferred from the spectrum of light? If that is not the case is it possible to tell from lights spectrum that it has entered a different medium, e.g. can ...
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How do waves meet at a single point?

In principle two objects can never meet,because of electromagnetic repulsions for example if I touch something, I am not actually touching it considering the fact that there is a small region left due ...