EM radiation => Self propagating wave ?

In summary: Wikipedia definition and how educators commonly refer to electromagnetic radiation. It is seen as a self-propagating wave that can travel through a vacuum. However, some argue that the term "self" is misleading and should be removed. They suggest that it would be more accurate to describe EM as a wave-particle with electric and magnetic components at right angles, which can propagate in a vacuum. Others argue that the term "self-propagating" is still valid and that any non-trivial solutions to Laplace's equations are self-propagating waves. Ultimately, there is no consensus on this issue and it remains a topic of debate among experts. In summary, there is ongoing discussion about the use of the term "self-propagating"
  • #1
Sirandar
19
0
Both Wikipedia and my educators called electromagnetic radiation a self propagating wave.


I would suggest that the word self be removed from wikipedia at least. There is no self in a wave. Even the word "coupled" or "causally related" are risky WRT the grav and mag components as I don't think anyone understands the coupling or causality.

Saying that EM is a wave-particle with grav and mag at right angles that can propgate in a vacuum contains the same amount of real information and is more reflective of what is known IMO. (perp to line travel too)

Is there any merit to this thought?
 
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  • #2
... EM rad is a self-propagating wave. What's the problem?

I think any non-trivial solutions to laplace's equations are self-propagating waves.
 
  • #3
Sirandar said:
Saying that EM is a wave-particle with grav and mag at right angles

I think you meant "elec and mag" not "grav and mag".
 
  • #4
jtbell said:
I think you meant "elec and mag" not "grav and mag".
Correct
 
  • #5
zhermes said:
... EM rad is a self-propagating wave. What's the problem?

I think any non-trivial solutions to laplace's equations are self-propagating waves.

The self propagating term uses the word self to try to explain something that hasn't been explained properly. A wave has no self. They travel though a vacuum because they do.

You could easily say that an EM has two functions that interconvert and this makes it self propagating, but seems to me that is cyclic thinking and I personally can't see how that explains how it can move through a vacuum.

Don't really know how wave A moves though space
Don't really know how wave B moves though space

Wave A creates Wave B and Wave B creates Wave A, so that explains how both waves move though space.

Just doesn't sit right

My 2 cents
 
  • #6
The word "self" in this context doesn't imply any consciousness, but means the wave propagates "by itself" without the need for any interactions with anything else. We also use self in this context when we say something is "self-similar". Saying the Mandelbrot set is "self-similar" doesn't imply that it is a conscious being, just that it is similar to itself.
 
  • #7
phyzguy said:
means the wave propagates without the need for any interactions with anything else

That definition fits
 

Related to EM radiation => Self propagating wave ?

What is EM radiation?

EM radiation, or electromagnetic radiation, is a type of energy that travels in the form of waves. It includes visible light, radio waves, microwaves, infrared radiation, ultraviolet radiation, X-rays, and gamma rays.

How does EM radiation propagate?

EM radiation propagates through the movement of electric and magnetic fields. These fields oscillate perpendicularly to each other and to the direction of the radiation's movement.

What is the speed of EM radiation?

The speed of EM radiation is approximately 299,792,458 meters per second, which is equivalent to the speed of light in a vacuum.

How is EM radiation created?

EM radiation is created when charged particles, such as electrons, accelerate or decelerate. This movement causes changes in the electric and magnetic fields, resulting in the emission of EM radiation.

What are the properties of EM radiation?

EM radiation has several properties, including wavelength, frequency, and energy. Its properties determine the type of radiation, such as visible light or X-rays, and how it interacts with matter.

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