SciForums.com > Science > Physics & Math > light waves PDA View Full Version : light waves Post ReplyCreate New Thread Shamoo05-06-02, 07:08 PMwell im just wondering, if there is a water wave then the water is waving. If light is a wave, then what is waving? James R05-07-02, 01:11 AMProbability amplitudes. Well - you asked. :) Adam05-07-02, 01:17 AMWelcome. What is waving? Methinks this is getting toward the aether or plenum and all that again. Lotsa people looking for it. Elmo05-08-02, 02:20 PMMy understanding was that it is the Electric and Magnetic fields that make up EM radiation, like light, that are "waving". I've heard of and read a little about the probability thing, but as yet it hasn't quite clicked. The main thing I can't quite get is if a beam of photons is travelling forwards (as they tend to do) then where does the probability wave lie in relation to them? If the amplitude shows the probability of finding a photon at that point then what happens at the nodes, where the amplitude is zero? You'll never find a photon here? but then surely that means that a photon will never pass that point, but they do or the beam couldn't travel. I'm not preaching, honest. I'm asking, cos I know you guys are well up on this. Stryder05-08-02, 03:22 PMI'm just going to be awkward because I waded through all those Science jokes from Theds Humour thread. Light is waving because it's passing through the universe. The way I see it, the universe is filled with energy, be it accumilated at some locations and sparce at others. Space contains Zero-point and some radiation that has doppler shifted in amplitude, this creates a universe (Ocean) of waves that light just happens to be travelling over. As with any boat, it follows it's surface. (Of course you can dispute that, but it looks good on paper :p) c'est moi05-08-02, 08:37 PM"My understanding was that it is the Electric and Magnetic fields that make up EM radiation" this is wrong EM-radiation creates EM-fields James R05-08-02, 11:22 PMIn the classical description of light, it is the electric and magnetic fields which oscillation in strength in directions at right angles both to each other and to the direction of propagation of a light wave. Jthomas05-17-02, 05:11 AMThis is a common question I think. Part of the problem is that different "waves" are being discussed. Ocean waves and such are actual disturbances of the local medium. Air moves to create "sound" and water moves to makes ocean waves. Radiation is an oscillating thing travelling through space. it is not a disturbance of space. radiation is more like if you could cause a long thin metal rod to wiggle like a wave the throw in through the air. it doesnt require the air to wiggle. (that would work the same in empty space). They are only both called "waves" because they can be described by things like amplitude and frequency. Mathematically they are similar, but practically they are quite different. Post ReplyCreate New Thread