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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Quantum Excitations

In the context of quantum field theory, is the schrodinger or dirac equation actually describing some sort of an actual wave in some field like light in EM field ? So all particles are actually waves ...
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805 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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98 views

Period of Double Slit Experiment

What is the period of the pattern from the double slit experiment? It varies along the pattern right? Namely I'm confused because when considering two point sources (See: Period of Interference ...
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195 views

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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67 views

What makes laminar cascade break?

Near my house there is a mall that have a cascade, which has a pratically constant flow, and doesn't seem to have perturbations (at least near the edge where water falls), between its two levels. ...
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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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What is the meaning of phase difference?

What do you mean by phase of a wave? And phase difference? Waves have always confused me as it's too difficult to visualize them. I am no good at waves mechanics, so if anyone could explain in simpler ...
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697 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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201 views

Nonlinear waves superposition

Non-linear waves do not superimpose to each other, but why? What characteristics give this property?
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Sinusoidal Wave Displacement Function

I am learning about waves (intro course) and as I was studying Wave Functions, I got a little confused. The book claims that the wave function of a sinusoidal wave moving in the $+x$ direction is ...
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301 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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68 views

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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112 views

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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199 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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182 views

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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213 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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250 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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2k views

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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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 ...
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132 views

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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859 views

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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2k views

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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69 views

How can such a wave exist at the surface of the sun?

Recently, I came across the following picture from NASA's SOHO observatory: It seems evident that this is a transverse wave (mind the ring which is bright and dark). But how can this be the case ...
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84 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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What is sound in terms of acoustic sources?

Sound is nothing more than small amplitude, unsteady pressure perturbations that propagate as a longitudinal wave from a region in space which created it (called the source region) into a quiescent ...
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317 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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232 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 ...
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108 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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147 views

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 ...
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55 views

Where the extra power comes from?

Suppose we have two radio waveforms each has amplitude of 1, then the total power is 2. Suppose these two waveforms add up some where constructively, then the amplitude become 2, and the total power ...
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Do all impacts create a wave-like disturbance in the medium through which they travel?

There is a scene in the first Matrix movie, where a helicopter strikes a skyscraper. The most interesting part is the 'slow-motion' bit where, as the helicopter strikes the building, a wave first ...
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163 views

about laser wavelength and wave form

I watched a short introduction video online. There are few concepts which are a bit confusing. 1) The video said the laser is single mode (monochromatic), the wavelength is 780nm, so what is that ...
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Why is $\Delta x \Delta k \approx 1$ in any pulse?

In my physics textbook, it says that for any pulse, if $\Delta x$ becomes smaller, $\Delta k$ becomes larger where $k$ refers to $2\pi/\lambda$ and $x$ is x-axis displacement, as described by $\Delta ...
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Angular frequency. Wrong interpretation at Wikipedia?

This and this articles mention that the angular frequency is: number of oscillations per unit of time But this doesn't seem to be correct since the angular ...
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Reconciling refraction with particle theory and wave theory

I have searched the web for good answers to why refraction occurs when light moves from one medium to another with different density. I have limited background in physics and want to know if there is ...
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144 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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Utility of displacements potentials in geophysics

In the elasticity theory, you can derive a wave equation from the fundamental equation of motion for an elastic linear homogeneous isotropic medium: $\rho \partial^2_t \overline{u} = \mu \nabla^2 ...
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Interpretation of dispersion relation

In my research, I found that my system has the following dissipation 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 ...
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50 views

Standing wave velocity

My question is simple: How is it that a standing wave has velocity? I mean, it's not travelling... A lot of equations depend on this concept, for example: $f_n = \frac{nv}{2L}$ Here we're ...
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Sound travel problem

Here's an example of my question to make my explanation a bit easier. Say a decent loudspeaker plays a tune at loud volume 100m away from me and another speaker plays the same tune at lot lower ...
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Light Waves and Light Photons gedanken Experiment

Suppose you have a source of light that emits light with a wavelength of 2 meters, and you set the device to be turned on and switched off alternately. You also set it so that each interval the device ...
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Can a force applied to a wheel find the fastest way of getting to the other side?

I haven't studied much about this, so if I am mistaken about something please correct me. From what I have seen around the Internet, a force applied to a object takes time to propagate through the ...
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1answer
50 views

Wave equation in varying mediums

I recently stumbled upon the above image describing partial transmittance, and was wondering what sort of equation would model such a wave propagating through varying mediums. Is there also an ...
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183 views

How to calculate Standing Waves in Electrical Cables?

I have a 20 metre Coaxial Cable. I send digital signals down the cable ranging from 5 KHz to 50 KHz. I have noticed a pattern in the noise ratio, an oscillating wave. I predict this is to do with ...
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454 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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2answers
248 views

What restrictions on time boundary conditions does it have to use Fourier transform to solve wave equation?

The wave equation can be solved using Fourier transform, by assuming a solution of the form of $$\mathbf{E}(x,y,z,t)~=~\mathbf{E}(x,y,z)e^{j\omega t}$$ and then reducing the equation to the Helmholtz ...
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190 views

Is sound relative?

Is sound relative? For example, if I and my friend are having a ride at 1000 mph and I shout towards him (speed of sound 700 mph). What would happen? Will the speed of the sound relative to the ...
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159 views

Why are particles in harmonic motion in normal modes?

Why do we assume that in normal modes, particles oscillate in form cos (wt) ? How do we know that the general motion of particles can be expressed as a superposition of normal modes? In both French ...