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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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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Standing sound wave in a wind instrument

So I've had this question bugging me ever since I saw sound at physics class: How is it possible to match the resonance frequency of a column of air in an organ pipe and form a standing sound wave by ...
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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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139 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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297 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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296 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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370 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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Mechanical waves edge between material and vacuum

I have been thinking about the propagation of EM waves vs. mechanical waves and some of their odd cases. One such case that I haven't been able to puzzle out is what happens when a mechanical wave ...
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165 views

“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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67 views

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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71 views

Power of Shockwaves

My question is about shockwaves and their power when they are created/how do they lose their power? Let's say that we have ground 0 with 10 grams of TATP on it. The detonation velocity of TATP is ...
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974 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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105 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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204 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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79 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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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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705 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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4answers
208 views

Nonlinear waves superposition

Non-linear waves do not superimpose to each other, but why? What characteristics give this property?
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10k views

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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311 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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2k views

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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127 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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261 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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187 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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216 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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272 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'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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892 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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74 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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91 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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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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234 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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149 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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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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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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402 views

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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764 views

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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947 views

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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148 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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Sound Wave out of phase

I connected my speakers to my sound system switching the +ve and -ve one of the speakers I can notice them beating out of phase but how come I don't hear any difference and at what position will it ...