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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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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what determines the wavelength of waves on the open ocean?

Looking at the picture below, you can totally see that these are tiny boats. The water is practically washing over the hull of these boat models. But the water has boundaries that are very far away,...
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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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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 do 2.4GHz frequencies offer greater range than 5GHz routers?

I would've thought that as 5GHz is a higher frequency, and it carries more energy, it would be able to pass through walls much more easily compared to a 2.4GHz frequency- similar to how short ...
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Optimal slit width in Young's double slit experiment

I'm trying to do Young's double slit experiment at home. Note that I don't have a laser, only a torch. I could get a bulb or use a candle though, if it helps I built the slits by cutting into a ...
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Producing photons with same frequency, different amplitude wave [duplicate]

I don't understand how two photons of the same frequency can have different amplitudes, neither how to produce them. I know that classically the square of the amplitude is proportional to the energy, ...
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194 views

Resonance modes of a cubic box of water which we shake

I don't know hydrodynamics, but I wonder how one would compute resonance modes of a cubic box of water which we shake. I believe the waves would directly depend on the height of water and the width ...
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What Exactly is a Shock Wave?

The Wikipedia defintion of a shock wave pretty much sums up all I've found online about what a shock wave is: A shock wave is a type of propagating disturbance. Like an ordinary wave, it carries ...
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273 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 ...
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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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Meaning of negative frequency of sound wave

Suppose that Alice and Bob are both holding speakers emitting sound at a frequency $f$. Alice is stationary while Bob is moving towards Alice at twice the speed of sound. In the case of Alice, if 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 $E^2=...
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What is a full cycle in damped oscillation?

Maybe it seems a dumb question, but I can't understand what the cycle in a damped oscillation is? Let's take an example: In harmonic motion, one cycle is the smallest distinguishable part of wave ...
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Besides vortex rings, are there other types of traveling waves that can carry matter as well as energy?

Vortex rings are a special soliton wave that are known to carry matter over a distance as well as energy. This can easily be demonstrated using a cardboard 'vortex canon' filled with smoke. The smoke ...
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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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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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131 views

Must flow be supersonic for disturbances not to affect upstream?

I'm studying oil production and found a fact that puzzled me. It states that fluid flow downstream of the wellhead must be supercritical in order not to disturb the flow upstream of it. From PetroWiki:...
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Doppler effect and light

Approaching the speed of sound in an aircraft is relatively difficult, because the closer you get to Mach 1, the denser the pressure is around you (sound accumulates causing vibrations). Is there a ...
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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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Transmitted Power and Poynting's theorem contradiction?

I was reading Chapter 12.1 in Hayt & Buck "Engineering Electromagnetics" 8-th edition. Here they discuss the reflection of uniform plane waves at normal incidence. They derived the following ...
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Overtones of Bells Over A Distance

The hourly bell tower sound at Indiana University Bloomington sounds like a higher frequency when heard from ~1.4 km away, compared to standing right next to it. Is this effect likely due to the ...
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Wave reflection and open end boundary condition intuition

I need to understand one seemingly simple thing in wave mechanics, so any help is much appreciated! When a pulse on a string travels to the right toward an open end(like a massless ring that is free ...
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Relationship between the continuity equation and the wave equation

What exactly is the relationship between the continuity equation and the wave equation? Suppose $J^\mu$ is a contravariant vector that satisfies the continuity equation $\partial_\mu J^\mu=0$. Let $J^...
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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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Numerical Solution of the Propagation-Dispersion equation

I have asked this question on Computational Science and also on Mathoverflow, but no satisfactory answers so far. I thought maybe the physics community could shed some insight on the issue. I am ...
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Light wave crossing media and the relationship between speed, wavelength, and frequency

There are many threads on this topic (like this one) but one aspect about the equation $ v = \lambda\nu $ still confuses me. I have read that frequency does not change when light crosses into ...
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Derivation of Fresnel distance

An aperture of size $a$ illuminated by a parallel beam sends diffracted beam (the central maximum) in angular width approximately $\lambda/a$. Travelling a distance $z$, it acquires the width $z \...
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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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Radio antenna producing waves in the visible spectrum [closed]

If a radio could produce waves in the visible light spectrum, what would the result be? This is a thought experiment that I've pondered for a few years now. I realize there are a few/many real-world ...
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Can a wave propagate in any substance? Aren't there any prerequisites?

We see waves propagate in air, water, through the cristal of a metal and along a rope. Isn't a wave a wonder of Nature, or is it just a simple phenomenon? Are homogeneity and isotropy necessary ...
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Does a finite wave necessarily have to be non-monochromatic in reality?

Does a finite wave necessarily have to be non-monochromatic in reality, or is that implication just a result of the mathematical analysis? I always wonder at these sort of things that come out of a ...
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Is there any effect on mechanical waves by electromagnetic waves (and vise versa)?

Do electromagnetic waves like light and gravitational waves (due to moon for instance) affect on mechanical waves like sound? Can sound change the path of light?
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Low frequency electromagnetic waves

Some frequencies of electromagnetic waves are used for transmission of information, like radiowaves, microwaves, light, but some are not.. What about low frequencies? Perhaps low frequencies aren't ...
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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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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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Wave speed derivation for small amplitudes

The above is a derivation for the wave speed equation in my physics textbook. However, I've read online that this equation is only true for waves with small amplitudes. I do not see where this ...
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What is the meaning of “CW” in LASER?

I am reading a user's manual, and the word appears here. At first, I think "CW" means "center wave". But later, I find that the meaning of "CW" is "continuous wave". It makes me confused. ...
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Does the absence of a sound particle indicate that there are no photons?

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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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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Why do we hear better during the night? [duplicate]

At night, we hear weak and far sounds approximately clear, while during the day we cannot. My high school physics teacher was saying that “this is because of interference of sound waves. During the ...
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Reflected and refracted light have same frequency as that of the incident light frequency. Why?

My text book says- When a monochromatic light is incident on a surface separating two media, the refracted and reflected light both have the same frequency as the incident frequency. Can anyone ...
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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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Interpretation of dispersion relation

In my research, I found that my system has the following dispersion relation: $$\omega^2=k^2+k_0^2\ , $$ where $k_0^{-1}$ is an intrinsic lengthscale of the system and the units are chosen so that the ...
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Physics of guitar strings

Guitarists normally press down hard on the frets and then pluck a string to obtain a note. However, one can also create notes by just touching the string above a particular fret and plucking. For ...
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846 views

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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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 ...
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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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FFT distortion, harmonics (singing wine glass)

I'm doing a school assignment on Singing Wine glasses (you rub the rim of the wine glass with a wet finger and it produces a pure tone). I have recorded $30\,\text{ms}$ of the "singing" at a sampling ...
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Do radio waves from the Sun reach Earth?

Do radio waves from the Sun come into contact with Earth? If so, do they penetrate the atmosphere or are they reflected, absorbed, or scattered?