Almost All About Waves

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Robert Boyle's classic experiment
Almost All About Waves

Near its edges pack ice is composed of pieces loosely drifting on the water. Farther inside the pack there are kilometers-wide chunks that have been blown together into a nearly solid mass.

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When the Lance left port in May , Marchenko was expecting two or three days of leisurely fieldwork. In previous years the group had even camped out on large floes. The Lance sailed east and around 80 kilometers from the small island of Hopen moored next to a large expanse of pack ice on May 2.

Marchenko prepared to lead his class out onto the floe. He decided to move the Lance deeper into the pack for safety. As he did so, the ship encountered small waves that grew in size over time—a surprise as even a little ice near the pack edges usually damps out waves. These waves then rapidly broke up the ice around the ship into thousands of smaller pieces. Within an hour there was a four-meter swell. This incident marks the first time that scientists had recorded any waves over three meters high amid Arctic pack ice.

Marchenko later gave his measurements to Clarence Collins and his colleagues at the NRL in Mississippi, who analyzed the interaction of the waves and ice. It turned out that although the ice damped incoming waves, it also contributed to its own destruction.

Focus: Electrons Carried by Sound Waves

When a wave disturbance is directed toward a small aperture in a screen or other obstacle, it emerges traveling in a range of directions. Thus, light rays, which normally follow straight paths, can bend upon passing through a small hole: this is the phenomenon known as diffraction.

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Interference occurs when two waves are combined and the disturbances overlap. If the waves arrive at a point in phase , enhancement occurs and the disturbance is large. Where the waves are out of phase, their opposing motions cancel and the disturbance is small or nonexistent. The net effect is therefore a distinctive interference pattern of large and small disturbances. Mathematically less tractable is the study of nonlinear waves, which can be very important in many applications. These usually display a more complicated structure and behaviour; for example, water waves in a shallow channel can develop a humplike formation known as a soliton , which propagates as a coherent entity.

Strings, standing waves and harmonics

Nonlinear waves are important in systems as diverse as nerve networks and the spiral arms of galaxies. Wave motion. Article Media. Info Print Cite.

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Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. See Article History. Read More on This Topic. From ripples on a pond to deep ocean swells, sound waves, and light, all waves share some basic characteristics. Broadly speaking, a wave…. Start Your Free Trial Today. Higher rates of velocity change result in higher frequency shorter wavelength radiation. The observed intensity of thermal radiation emitted by as a function of wavelength can be described by the Planck Radiation Law Physics The Planck Radiation Law gives the intensity of radiation as a function of wavelength for a fixed temperature.

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The Planck law gives a continuous distribution, which peaks at some wavelength. The peak shifts to shorter wavelengths for higher temperatures, and the area under the curve grows rapidly with increasing temperature.

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By observing the continuous distribution of the thermal radiation emitted by an object, we can learn its temperature. When light passes through or reflects or scatters of matter, it interacts with the atoms and molecules. Atoms and molecules have characteristic resonance frequencies. The preferentially interact with light waves of exactly those frequencies.

Almost All About Waves Almost All About Waves
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