About This Chapter
Who's It For?
Anyone who needs help learning or mastering sound and light material will benefit from the lessons in this chapter. There is no faster or easier way to learn about sound and light. Among those who would benefit are:
- Students who have fallen behind in understanding sound and light waves
- Students who struggle with learning disabilities or learning differences, including autism and ADHD
- Students who prefer multiple ways of learning science (visual or auditory)
- Students who have missed class time and need to catch up
- Students who need an efficient way to learn about sound and light
- Students who struggle to understand their teachers
- Students who attend schools without extra science learning resources
How It Works:
- Find videos in our course that cover what you need to learn or review.
- Press play and watch the video lesson.
- Refer to the video transcripts to reinforce your learning.
- Test your understanding of each lesson with short quizzes.
- Verify you're ready by completing the Sound and Light chapter exam.
Why It Works:
- Study Efficiently: Skip what you know, review what you don't.
- Retain What You Learn: Engaging animations and real-life examples make topics easy to grasp.
- Be Ready on Test Day: Use the Sound and Light chapter exam to be prepared.
- Get Extra Support: Ask our subject-matter experts any sound and light question. They're here to help!
- Study With Flexibility: Watch videos on any web-ready device.
Students Will Review
This chapter helps students review the concepts in a sound and light unit of a standard introductory physics course. Topics covered include:
- The origins of waves and light
- Wave parameters
- Transverse and longitudinal waves
- Factors influencing the speed of sound
- Sound waves' volume and pitch
- Properties of electromagnetic waves
- The electromagnetic spectrum
- Reflection, diffuse reflection and resonance
- Transparent and opaque materials
- How reflection and absorption of light affects color perception
- Refraction, dispersion and diffraction
- Destructive interference and constructive interference
- The Doppler Effect
- Wave-particle duality
1. Vibrations and Waves: Energy and Motion
What is a wave? What causes waves, and how do they travel from one place to another? This lesson will guide you through the basics of waves. We'll discuss their origins from vibrations and investigate how they carry energy through a medium.
2. Wave Parameters: Wavelength, Amplitude, Period, Frequency & Speed
How do we measure and describe waves? How do waves differ based upon their shapes? This lesson will guide you through the five wave parameters - period, frequency, amplitude, wavelength, and speed - that we use to characterize waves.
3. Transverse & Longitudinal Waves: Definition & Examples
What comes to mind when you think of a wave? Chances are your mental image takes the form of a transverse wave. But, longitudinal waves are just as important, and understanding the difference is vital to learning about waves. In this lesson, explore both types of waves and the unique characteristics of each.
4. What is Sound? - Definition and Factors Affecting the Speed of Sound
Explore the minute workings of sound waves and how they travel. We'll discuss the main factors that affect the speed of sound waves, and we'll try some mathematical problems involving the wave equation.
5. Pitch and Volume in Sound Waves
What do pitch and volume mean when talking about sound waves? Further your understanding of sound waves in this lesson as we explore the more familiar aspects of sound. We'll learn about pitch and volume and how they relate to sound wave parameters.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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!
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. 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.
16. 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.
17. 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.
18. 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.
19. Infrasound: Definition, Effects & Uses
Humans can't hear infrasound, but we have created devices to detect these low frequency waves. By observing them, we can learn more about the natural world and even monitor nuclear testing.
20. Angle of Incidence: Definition & Formula
Discover what an angle of incidence is and how it relates to light. Then dive further into learning the related topics of incident angles with the reflection and refraction of light.
21. Angle of Reflection: Definition & Formula
When light hits an object, it bounces off the object's surface and reaches our eyes. All that we see around us is made possible by a phenomenon called reflection. This lesson covers the definition, angle, types of reflection, and the law of reflection.
22. Atomic Spectrum: Definition, Absorption & Emission
In this lesson, we'll discuss the meaning of the term 'atomic spectrum' and distinguish between the two main types of atomic spectra: absorption and emission spectra. We'll also describe how each forms.
23. Compression Wave: Definition & Overview
This lesson will define longitudinal (or compression) waves, discuss the names for various features and parts of a longitudinal wave, and go through some examples of longitudinal waves in the world. A short quiz will follow.
24. Continuous Spectrum: Definition & Overview
If you've seen a rainbow, you may have seen a continuous spectrum - or something close to it. In this lesson, you'll learn about continuous spectra in the context of the electromagnetic spectrum and light. You'll also learn about two types of spectra that aren't continuous: absorption spectra and emission spectra.
25. Divergent Boundary: Definition & Examples
In this lesson, you will learn the meaning of the term 'divergent boundary' in the context of plate tectonics. A number of features and examples of divergent boundaries will be introduced. A short quiz will follow.
26. Hertz: Definition & Concept
Learn about the life of German physicist Heinrich Hertz and his contributions to our understanding of electromagnetic energy. Explore what a 'hertz' is and how we use it as a unit of measurement.
27. How to Calculate Wavelength
Discover practical examples of waves and the significance of wavelength. Learn the relationship of wavelength, frequency, and wave speed, as well as how to calculate wavelength based on these parameters.
28. Incident Ray: Definition & Overview
This lesson will explain incident rays. Explore what a ray is in the first place, as well as how an incident ray relates to a reflected ray. Then, test your understanding with a brief quiz.
29. Light Rays: Definition, Types & Sources
This lesson will explain what light rays are, the main types of light rays, and how they can be simulated using lasers or beams of light. A short quiz will follow.
30. Light Waves: Definition, Types & Uses
This lesson will define electromagnetic waves, explaining the distinction between them and 'light waves.' We will also discuss the various kinds of waves in the electromagnetic spectrum and their uses. A short quiz will follow.
31. Light Year: Definition & Overview
In this lesson, you will learn about the concept of a light year and that it is not a measure of time but of distance. Discover how to calculate a light year and explore uses of the light year in astronomical measurements.
32. Reflected Ray: Definition & Overview
In this lesson, we will explore how reflected light rays allow us to see images in mirrors and rough objects from all angles. We will also learn how reflected rays cause objects to appear different colors.
33. Reflection of Waves: Definition & Examples
This lesson will define reflection in the context of waves, summarize the types of reflection, and provide examples of reflection in action. A short quiz will follow.
34. Refracted Wave: Definition & Overview
This lesson will explain what a refracted wave is, and how it works. We will also discuss why exactly it happens in the context of wave speed. A short quiz will follow.
35. Specular Reflection: Definition & Examples
This lesson will define specular reflection, explain how it differs from diffuse reflection, and give some examples of specular reflection: when it is useful and when it is problematic. A short quiz will follow.
36. Double Slit Experiment: Explanation & Equation
The double slit experiment is an idealized laboratory scenario that produces a wave interference pattern. In this article, we will discuss the basic setup of a double slit experiment and explain how the setup produces an interference pattern.
37. Frustrated Total Internal Reflection
Under certain conditions light that should be reflected in total internal reflection can be refracted instead. This process is known as frustrated total internal reflection, and in this lesson we will learn how it works.
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Other chapters within the Physics 101: Help and Review course
- Introductory Physics: Help and Review
- Vectors: Help and Review
- Kinematics: Help and Review
- Laws of Motion: Help and Review
- Work and Energy in Physics: Help and Review
- Linear Momentum: Help and Review
- Equilibrium and Elasticity: Help and Review
- Fluids in Physics: Help and Review
- Laws of Thermodynamics: Help and Review
- Electrostatics: Help and Review
- Circuits in Physics: Help and Review
- The Physics of Magnetism: Help and Review
- Wave Optics: Help and Review
- Classical Relativity: Help and Review
- Modern Physics: Help and Review
- Using Physics Formulas