Wave Phenomena Help

By — McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Sep 11, 2011


The universe is awash with ripples. Waves can occur in any mode and medium we care to imagine. Waves propagate in gases, liquids, and solids. Waves undulate throughout the space-time continuum and through what appears to be the absence of any medium at all. Consider

  • The air during a musical concert
  • The surface of a pond after a pebble falls in
  • The surface of a lake on a windy day
  • The surface of the ocean off Maverick’s Beach in California
  • The tops of the stalks in a wheat field
  • The surface of a soap bubble when you blow on it
  • High clouds near the jet stream
  • Earth’s surface during a major quake
  • Earth’s interior after a major quake
  • The human brain at any time
  • A guitar string after it has been plucked
  • A utility power line carrying alternating current
  • A radio or television transmitting antenna
  • An optical fiber carrying a laser beam
  • The electromagnetic field inside a microwave oven
  • Space-time near a coalescing binary neutron star

Some wave phenomena are easier to comprehend than others. If a wave is easy to see in the mind’s eye, it is not necessarily common in nature. If it’s difficult to envision, it is not necessarily rare.

Practice problems of these concepts can be found at:  Wave Phenomena Practice Test

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