Practical long distance communication, which does not rely on the movement of encoded configurations of matter, from source to destination(odor,books,DNA,floppy disk), always involves waves (EM, Sound).

Whether acoustic or electromagnetic, we need to wiggle some matter, which radiates some of the energy to the field, to wiggle something else, inverse squared, at the sensor receiver! Maybe this should be obvious, but it was a nice surprise for me. And maybe a motivator for explorers of waves.

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    $\begingroup$ I don't get it. What is the question? $\endgroup$ – Keep these mind Nov 7 '13 at 22:04
  • $\begingroup$ Presumably the author didn't like the answers he got on physics.stackexchange.com/questions/83435/… . Alas, now he's just begging someone to mention thermal conduction as a possible means of information transfer. Oops, I just did. I am tempted to close this question as a duplicate of the earlier one unless there is a good reason for the restriction here. $\endgroup$ – dmckee Nov 7 '13 at 22:19
  • $\begingroup$ dmckee- Why so hot? chill dude.... I did try to rephrase the question, but in a cooperative effort, and not as you characterize "the author", in your ad hominem. I think you are suggesting I should have re-edited the earlier question, rather than resubmitting, but it might be better to just guide new participants, assisting in the first person, rather than this third person "Alas". { Used to express sorrow, regret, grief, compassion, or apprehension of danger or evil.-thefreedictionary} .Wouldn't Thermal communications involve waves, and at a distance, would seem to be rather low bandwidth. $\endgroup$ – TestPilotDoc Nov 8 '13 at 15:02

The real answer is "because this is the universe we found ourselves in"

Our study of physics has allowed us to model this universe mathematically, with models that not only describe what is happening but also can predict what will happen in the future given initial conditions, as well as previously not detected pbenomena.

All "why" questions in physics end up on the axioms and postulates we have discovered for these mathematical theories. Physics answers "how" from the axioms and postulates we arrive at a given observation.

We get waves because we have found that in the microcosm there is an exchange of bosons that transfers impacts between elementary particles of the standard model for all three forces ( strong, weak and electromagnetic) and hypothesize the same for gravity. These bosons, photons, in an ensemble create the electromagnetic waves we observe macroscopically and at the limit are described by Maxwell's equations that describe wave propagation and information transfer macroscopically.

Sound is a collective effect described by classical physics, it is a meta level based on innumerable electromagnetic interactions which hold solids and liquids together and transfer impulses statistically in gases too. The wave equations for sound arise naturally in the framework of classical statistical mechanics.

So the ultimate answer to the "why" is "because this is what we have observed".

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks- simple harmonic oscillators seem to provide a low energy means to transfer information by waves. Is there also a connection with certain symmetries leading Noether to linkconservation laws, and/or Euler-Lagrange or Hamiltonians? $\endgroup$ – TestPilotDoc Nov 8 '13 at 15:06
  • $\begingroup$ I might have re-stated: "Coupling of SHO's might provide a least action pathway ..." to transfer information by waves $\endgroup$ – TestPilotDoc Nov 8 '13 at 15:23
  • $\begingroup$ wave equations can arise from many differential equations. Some of them with the appropriate boundary conditions can describe waves in liquids, seismic waves etc. In this sense waves transfer information because they are periodic in time varying fields carrying energy which can be adjusted to do so. Fundamentally though all waves are meta levels on the electromagnetic interactions of atoms and molecules, where the em radiation is virtual or soft, except for direct em radiation which is first hand. $\endgroup$ – anna v Nov 8 '13 at 16:04

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