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In the absence of time how can light be a wave?

  1. Aug 9, 2012 #1
    As I understand it anything moving at speed c doesn't experience time so from the perspective of the photon its emitted from one atom and then instantly absorbed by another.

    If this is so then how does a magnetic field generate an electric field when it has no time to do so? Something that's not experiencing time shouldn't be able to oscillate.

    Nature is so confusing.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 9, 2012 #2
    You can't talk about the reference frame of a photon; it doesn't have one. The oscillation you're talking about happens in the observer's reference frame.
  4. Aug 9, 2012 #3

    Simon Bridge

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    Because we are not photons - we experience time, we experience EM fields. Photons do not experience EM fields. Like you say, "experience" is not a good concept for photons because there is no time for them to experience anything. We give up and talk about world-lines in 4D.
  5. Aug 9, 2012 #4


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    Just remember, Einstein defined time as what a clock measures. Since no clock can travel at c, it's meaningless to consider time for a photon. It doesn't make sense to say that since a photon doesn't experience time, its experience of time is instantly.
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