Ch 19: Overview of the Physics of Light

About This Chapter

Study all about the physics of light. The lessons will help you review all the properties of light including waves and color. The videos and quizzes will ensure you have a thorough understanding of the properties of light.

Overview of the Physics of Light - Chapter Summary

This chapter has been created by our instructors to give a high level review of the physics of light. You will learn about the sources and properties of electromagnetic waves and the seven major regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. You will also review refraction and dispersion, including Snell's Law and the effect of refraction on wavelength. After completing this chapter, you should be able to:

  • Understand the origin, spectrum, and color frequency of light
  • Discuss reflection, the angle of incidence, curved surfaces, and diffuse reflection
  • Define resonance and the transmission of waves
  • Explain transparent and opaque materials in electromagnetic waves
  • Understand how color is affected by white light, reflection, and absorption
  • Identify constructive and destructive interference
  • Give examples of the Doppler Effect and wave-particle duality
  • Analyze the process and uses of photometry

These videos are designed to be an engaging way to study when your time allows. Your dashboard helps you keep track of what lessons you have completed, and which quizzes you have taken as you check your progress. Utilize the video transcripts and video tags for more ways to review.

14 Lessons in Chapter 19: Overview of the Physics of Light
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Electromagnetic Waves: Definition, Sources & Properties

1. Electromagnetic Waves: Definition, Sources & Properties

In this lesson, learn the basics of electromagnetic waves and how they make up the electromagnetic spectrum. We will explore the major trends and categories within the spectrum, as well as the various sources of electromagnetic waves.

The 7 Major Regions of the Electromagnetic Spectrum

2. The 7 Major Regions of the Electromagnetic Spectrum

This lesson will walk you through each of the major regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Explore the unique characteristics of X-rays, microwaves, radio waves, UV rays, infrared, gamma rays, and of course, visible light.

The Nature of Light: Origin, Spectrum & Color Frequency

3. The Nature of Light: Origin, Spectrum & Color Frequency

This lesson introduces the basics of visible light and color. Learn how the visible light spectrum is divided into the six color ranges. We'll also discuss why different people name colors in different ways.

Reflection: Angle of Incidence and Curved Surfaces

4. Reflection: Angle of Incidence and Curved Surfaces

How do waves reflect off of surfaces? How do we account for the images that we see reflected in various objects? Discover the answers to these questions as we investigate the rays and angles defining the law of reflection.

Diffuse Reflection: Definition, Examples & Surfaces

5. Diffuse Reflection: Definition, Examples & Surfaces

This lesson explores the law of reflection and how it applies to different surfaces and wave types. We'll learn the difference between specular and diffuse reflection and investigate how diffuse reflection affects our perception of sound and light.

Resonance: Definition & Transmission of Waves

6. Resonance: Definition & Transmission of Waves

This lesson describes how sound and light waves are affected by the principle of resonance. Learn how resonance occurs through the vibrations and resonant frequencies of objects. You'll investigate everyday examples of resonance and learn how to break a wine glass with your voice!

Transparent and Opaque Materials in Electromagnetic Waves

7. Transparent and Opaque Materials in Electromagnetic Waves

What makes an object transparent or opaque? How does light pass through some objects and not others? And what about the other types of electromagnetic waves? We'll investigate all these questions in this lesson about the transparency and opacity of materials.

Color: White Light, Reflection & Absorption

8. Color: White Light, Reflection & Absorption

What gives color to objects? How do light waves interact with materials to produce red and green or white and black? In this lesson, learn how white light is composed of all colors and how absorption and reflection influence our color perception.

Refraction & Dispersion: Definition, Snell's Law & Index of Refraction

9. Refraction & Dispersion: Definition, Snell's Law & Index of Refraction

Refraction explains why light bends in water. But, did you know that mathematical laws determine exactly how light waves are bent? In this lesson, we'll explore the mechanics of wave refraction, including Snell's Law and the index of refraction.

Diffraction: Relation to Sound & Light and Effects of Wavelength

10. Diffraction: Relation to Sound & Light and Effects of Wavelength

This lesson explores diffraction as one of the many behaviors of waves. Learn how diffraction occurs in sound and light waves and how it is affected by the wavelength of a wave. Find out how animals use diffraction to communicate and how scientists use it to study molecules.

Constructive and Destructive Interference

11. Constructive and Destructive Interference

What happens when one wave meets another? Do the waves converge to make one giant wave? Or, do they destroy each other? In this lesson, we'll explore the workings of wave interference.

The Doppler Effect: Definition, Examples & Applications

12. The Doppler Effect: Definition, Examples & Applications

What is the Doppler effect? How does it affect our perceptions of sound and light? In this lesson, learn how traveling wave sources can change the way we observe sound and light waves. Explore the applications of the Doppler effect on shock waves, sonic booms, and the movements of distant galaxies.

Wave-Particle Duality: Concept, Explanation & Examples

13. Wave-Particle Duality: Concept, Explanation & Examples

Is light a particle with mass and substance? Or, is it just a wave traveling through space? Most scientists say light is both a particle and a wave! Find out how they came to this strange conclusion as we learn about the theory of wave-particle duality.

What is Photometry? - Definition, Process & Uses

14. What is Photometry? - Definition, Process & Uses

Like most things, light can be measured. This lesson will explore the science behind light measurement, including the photometer and the spectrophotometer, as well as why they are used.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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