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Why the waves?

  1. Sep 22, 2011 #1
    Hello, why an electromagnetic signal propagate as wave? Wouldn't be more normal that electron travel in a beeline?

    Thank you.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 22, 2011 #2


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    It would be more normal (at least for some meanings of what is 'normal'), but unfortunately it is not.

    Propagating as a wave does not mean that for many purposes you can't use the bullet (bee) view. But in some phenomena you may observe (e.g. Young's interference experiment) light propagation could really be hard to explain in other view than wave.

    By the way: bees also travels waving, rather along beeline. Every time bee flaps wings down - she moves body up. And a moment later, flapping wings up - moves body down. In the effect, her trajectory is pretty sinusoidal.
  4. Sep 22, 2011 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    What exactly do you mean by an "electromagnetic signal?" To me it means (at first glance) "electromagnetic wave" such as a radio wave, which is not the same thing as a stream of electrons.
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