Need help understand electro magnetic waves

  1. Mar 31, 2004 #1
    How do electro magnetic waves travel?
    if i am not mistaken waves are defiend as disturbances in a medium
    so do electro magnetic waves travel through a certain medium? if so how is this medium formed or does it exist every where in the universe and does not need to be formed ?
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2004
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 31, 2004 #2

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Electromagnetic radiation is different from other waves in that it does not require a separate medium on which to propogate. Part of the implication of this is that the speed of light is observed to be constant by all observers regardless of a frame of reference (as opposed to the speed of the car next to yours, which depends on your speed/frame of reference).
     
  4. Mar 31, 2004 #3

    Integral

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Electromagnetic waves are self propagating. According to Maxwell's equations a Magnetic field is created by a changing Electric field, and an Electric field is created by a changing Magnetic field. This interaction propagates through space exchanging energy between the electric and magnetic fields.
     
  5. Mar 31, 2004 #4

    HallsofIvy

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    "if i am not mistaken waves are defiend as disturbances in a medium"

    You are mistaken. "waves" are defined as anything that obeys the "wave equation" partial differential equation. That does not require a medium.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Similar Discussions: Need help understand electro magnetic waves
  1. Electro Magnetism (Replies: 1)

  2. Electro magnets (Replies: 1)

Loading...