* Sound and light waves allow us to talk to and see each other
* Ultrasound and radiation waves have many applications in medicine
* Electromagnetic waves have given us radio, television, cordless and cell phones and all the gadgetry and allows us to text to and follow each other
All or most of us have either given or received the advice of “don’t make waves”. What this means is “don’t create a disturbance” because in physics the definition of a wave is “a disturbance that once created it travels in its own way and unique speed and cannot be altered”. How many of us wish if we could only take back something that we said…
There are many types of waves. There are the sound waves, which allows us to communicate with each other. As we speak we create a disturbance that travels through the air at the speed of sound (345 meters per second (m/s)) to the ears of all around us. Then we have water waves that we see in the rivers, ponds and the sea. And nature is full of electromagnetic waves (EM), visible light being part of the EM wave family its only special characteristic being that it excites our retina and allow us to see things. Other wise light is of the same nature as x-rays that destroy our retina. One peculiarity of all the different waves is that they are described by the same mathematical equation, very appropriately called “the wave equation”, a subject upon which we shall not elaborate here, but we shall note that the only difference is their speed of propagation (travel). As noted above sound waves travel at 345 m/s whereas EM waves travel at the speed of light or 300,000 kilometers per second (km/s) (186,000 miles/s).
It travels seven and a half times around the equator in one second!