1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Wave theory of light

  1. May 29, 2013 #1

    adjacent

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I wonder what is actually a light wave.Is the light particles moving straight and vibrating up and down or the medium vibrating up and down?When light pass through glass for example what happens?Does the light particles vibrate or glass medium?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 29, 2013 #2
    there are no particles, light is an electromagnetic wave, a wave consisting of an electric field and a magnetic field sloshing back and forth so to speak. if you are talking about "particles" being photons, photons have particle type characteristics and are discrete packets of energy not physical particles.
     
  4. May 29, 2013 #3

    adjacent

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Then why did the earlier scientists made up the ether theory?
     
  5. May 29, 2013 #4
    If you are refering to quantum theory then yes light is photons, but these are discrete energy packets and not a particle like a proton.
     
  6. May 29, 2013 #5

    ZapperZ

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2016 Award

    Because back then, for something to be a wave, there has to be a "medium" for the wave to propagate. There are many things we thought that were correct back then that we know better now.

    Your original question requires a bit more explanation on what you already know and can comprehend. For example, if we give you a link to the derivation of the electromagnetic EM wave using Maxwell Equation, are you able to understand that? If you can, then you'll see that the "wave" really is an oscillation of the electric and magnetic field vectors. See this, for example:

    http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/waves/emwavecon.html

    Since you are interested in the "wave theory" of light, we will keep it at that without invoking the photon picture.

    Zz.
     
  7. May 29, 2013 #6

    adjacent

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I really dont know anything about maxwell's electromsgnetic theory
     
  8. May 29, 2013 #7

    ZapperZ

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2016 Award

    Then just look at the picture in that link.

    Zz.
     
  9. May 30, 2013 #8

    adjacent

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Thanks
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Wave theory of light
  1. Light wave theory (Replies: 6)

  2. Wave theory of light (Replies: 8)

  3. Wave theory of light (Replies: 32)

Loading...