Light can be thought of as a WAVE

Think about ocean waves:


`` tex2html_wrap_inline315 " = ``Wavelength'' = distance between crests (or any two identical spots). The units are distance units like ``feet'' or ``meters''.

``f'' or `` tex2html_wrap_inline323 '' = ``frequency'' = Number of times a boat goes up and down per unit time. The units are 1/(time), e.g. 1/second. Sometimes this is stated as ``cycles/second''.

v = speed of the wave. Units of distances/time.

The boat goes up and down with the waves. What about the water?

Q. Just what is traveling in the direction of the waves?

Energy and information. Waves are a disturbance traveling through a medium (although E-M radiation can travel in a vacuum).

There are other kinds of waves (ocean waves are sometimes called ``gravity waves'' or ``surface waves'')

So, what does this have to do with LIGHT?

Michael Bolte
Wed Jan 14 23:06:17 PST 1998