Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Why can light go through some matter but not other matter?

  1. Oct 24, 2014 #1
    If possible, I would like an explanation that uses light as an electromagnetic wave, rather than a massless particle, because I don't understand photons. Thank you.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 24, 2014 #2

    davenn

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

  4. Oct 24, 2014 #3
    Thanks, so an object is transparent if light causes electrons in the object to oscillate, all the way through, until the same frequency light is emitted out the other side?

    If this is the case, consider the electrons right on the surface of the object on the side of the incoming light. The light is causing them to oscillate; why is light not also reflected back to my eyes, enabling me to see air or other transparent materials?
     
  5. Oct 25, 2014 #4
    Bump

    Still don't understand
     
  6. Oct 26, 2014 #5

    Dale

    Staff: Mentor

    It is. That, and refraction, are how you can see glass or water or diamonds or other transparent materials.
     
  7. Oct 26, 2014 #6
    But I can't see air. I understand how I can see diamonds and glass, but I don't understand how I can see air?
     
  8. Oct 26, 2014 #7

    Dale

    Staff: Mentor

    Sure you can. Go underwater and blow bubbles. You will definitely be able to see air in the same way that you can see other transparent materials.
     
  9. Oct 26, 2014 #8
    Good point. Thanks.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Why can light go through some matter but not other matter?
  1. Is Light Matter? (Replies: 29)

Loading...