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Noob's Questions about Electromagneticism

  1. Apr 26, 2010 #1
    Greetings all. I am The_Jackal...and I am happy to be here :bugeye:

    I never took a physics course, but have some peripheral knowledge of it and I have a couple of observations and that developed into questions, I was wondering if anyone here can help me with so I and better understand.

    I learned that there are 4 forces of nature
    1) gravity
    2) electromagnetism
    3) the strong-nuclear-interaction
    4) the weak-nuclear-interaction

    Now, let me explain my reasoning that lead to the question I have.

    Electromagnetism is basically defined as the electromagnetic-spectrum, right?

    Well, I've heard that all the levels that comprise the electromagnetic-spectrum (radio wave, microwave, infrared, the visible light, ultraviolet, X-rays and gamma rays) are all described as types of radiation, right?

    And if I understand correctly, radiation is the "weak-nuclear-force" of the 4 forces of nature, right?

    So if the electromagnetic-spectrum is the radiation of the weak-nuclear-interaction, then what is the difference between the electromagnetic-force and the weak-nuclear-force?

    And does this explain the concept of the "electroweak-interaction"?

    I know I don't have a complete picture here. I hope someone can correct me. :cool:
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 26, 2010 #2
    Nope. Electromagnetic radiation is just one part of electromagnetism.


    NUCLEAR radiation, i.e. uranium decaying into lead.

    Different types of radiation...

    No. The electroweak force is the byproduct of adding another spacial dimension to the equations. When another dimension is added, the forces can be seen as essentially the same.
  4. Apr 26, 2010 #3
    What else does electromagnetism comprise of?

    I think my problem is that I'm not able to grasp the different types of radiation.

    Is there a classification model for all the types of radiation that is somewhat comparable to what the periodic table is for elements?

    And also, is there more to the weak-interaction than uranium decaying into lead? And why specifically uranium and lead? I figured it would be more general.
  5. Apr 26, 2010 #4
    Electromagnetism is a property of current flowing, or moving electrons. When electrons emit photons you get a electromagnetic "wave", which may be a radio wave or a light wave.
    The electromagnetic spectrum is a mapping of electromagnetic waves, from the longest wave to the shortest wave.

    Photon radiation.

    Nuclear decay is particle radiation but these particles(electrons) can also then emit photons.
    Nobody really knows what these forces are. So somebody could come up with a model that says the nuclear force is somehow derived from the same fundamental as the electric force.
  6. Apr 26, 2010 #5
    Okay so, the electromagnetic spectrum = the mapping electromagnetic waves = photon radiation

    And also, how is the photon radiation "radio wave" or a "light wave?"

    When you say "light wave," do you mean the visible-light part of the spectrum? Should I conclude that everything else is "radio wave?"

    Thanks :)
  7. Apr 26, 2010 #6


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    All electromagnetic radiation is light. For our own convenience however, we have split up regions of the electromagnetic spectrum and given them names for our own reference. So radio frequencies is one low end part of the spectrum, visible light is the spectrum that we can see with our eyes, ultraviolet light is the spectrum just above visible light and so on. The only thing that differentiates between these regions is the frequency. In terms of photon, the frequency of the photon is directly proportional to its energy. So the lower the frequency, the lower the amount of energy that each photon represents.
  8. Apr 26, 2010 #7
    It just depends on the energy - the wavelength. Our eyes just happen to be sensitive to the part of the spectrum we call "light", so we called it light..... You can "see" by just about any type of radiation using the proper camera.
    Yes, radio waves only by virtue of their "lower than light" frequency(wavelength).
  9. Apr 27, 2010 #8
    Check out this page:

    The posts above summarize the information in the article, but nevertheless it explains pretty much everything and answers your question.

    I can recall that someone else in the forum wrote that naming different types of electromagnetic radiation (photon radiation) such as radio waves for low frequency EM radiation and gamma rays, x-rays for high frequency EM rad, etc could be analogous to naming an accelerated ball at different speeds, in other words its the same object, in this case a photon, just with different energy.

    P.S. Stop playing so much DotA and focus more on your studies.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2010
  10. Apr 27, 2010 #9
    Thank you all so much, you all have been so helpful.

    The link in that last post pretty much sums up the definition of radiation in a simple and clear defined manner. So much so, I don't even have to ask my next question which was gonna be about sound, vibration, and frequency lol.

    Thank you PF for this edification! :)
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