Ch 4: Waves and Optics

About This Chapter

Use our video lessons as you study the workings of the various types of light and sound waves. These video lessons are short and engaging and make learning easy!

Waves and Optics

Sound and light surround you at all times and you rely on them for safety, communication and entertainment. You can learn all about the various types of light and sound waves through this chapter. These lessons are designed to teach you:

  • Snell's law
  • The features of light
  • Regions of the electromagnetic spectrum
  • The Doppler Effect
  • Factors affecting sound

Video Objective
Refraction & Dispersion: Definition, Snell's Law & Index of Refraction Explore the relationships within refractions through Snell's law.
Transparent and Opaque Materials in Electromagnetic Waves Explain the differences between these two types of materials and their effects on electromagnetic waves.
Color: White Light, Reflection & Absorption Learn that white light is formed from all colors and how our color perception is influenced.
Resonance: Definition & Transmission of Waves Explain how sound and light are affected by resonance.
The Nature of Light: Origin, Spectrum & Color Frequency Learn about the six color ranges and how people perceive colors differently.
Diffuse Reflection: Definition, Examples & Surfaces Compare diffuse and specular reflection.
The 7 Major Regions of the Electromagnetic Spectrum Explore radio waves, microwaves, visible light rays, ultraviolet light rays, x-rays, infrared radiation and gamma rays.
Reflection: Angle of Incidence and Curved Surfaces Learn about the angles and rays that govern the law of reflection.
Electromagnetic Waves: Definition, Sources & Properties Discuss the aspects of these waves and their sources.
The Doppler Effect: Definition, Examples & Applications Study the occurrence of the Doppler Effect in sound, light and water waves.
Pitch and Volume in Sound Waves Define amplitude, intensity and volume.
What is Sound? - Definition and Factors Affecting the Speed of Sound Explain how sound waves travel and what affects their speed.
Wave Parameters: Wavelength, Amplitude, Period, Frequency & Speed Learn about the five parameters used to measure waves.
Transverse & Longitudinal Waves: Definition & Examples Compare longitudinal and transverse waves. Define seismic waves.
Vibrations and Waves: Energy and Motion Discover how waves begin and how they carry energy.
Diffraction: Relation to Sound & Light and Effects of Wavelength Explain how diffraction takes place in light and sound waves. Discuss how animals use diffraction for communication.
Constructive and Destructive Interference Compare constructive and destructive interference. Discuss standing waves.
Mirrors: Plane & Spherical Compare the two basic types of mirrors.
Ray Tracing Mirrors Explain how ray tracing provides geometric explanations for images formed in spherical and plane mirrors.
Using Equations to Answer Mirror Questions Calculate mirror problems with equations.
Thin Lenses Explain thin lens approximations.
Using Equations to Answer Images Questions Explain images issues with the help of equations.

22 Lessons in Chapter 4: Waves and Optics
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Refraction & Dispersion: Definition, Snell's Law & Index of Refraction

1. 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.

Transparent and Opaque Materials in Electromagnetic Waves

2. 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

3. 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.

Resonance: Definition & Transmission of Waves

4. 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!

The Nature of Light: Origin, Spectrum & Color Frequency

5. 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.

Diffuse Reflection: Definition, Examples & Surfaces

6. 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.

The 7 Major Regions of the Electromagnetic Spectrum

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.

Reflection: Angle of Incidence and Curved Surfaces

8. 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.

Electromagnetic Waves: Definition, Sources & Properties

9. 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 Doppler Effect: Definition, Examples & Applications

10. 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.

Pitch and Volume in Sound Waves

11. 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.

What is Sound? - Definition and Factors Affecting the Speed of Sound

12. 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.

Wave Parameters: Wavelength, Amplitude, Period, Frequency & Speed

13. 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.

Transverse & Longitudinal Waves: Definition & Examples

14. 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.

Vibrations and Waves: Energy and Motion

15. 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.

Diffraction: Relation to Sound & Light and Effects of Wavelength

16. 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

17. 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.

Mirrors: Difference Between Plane & Spherical

18. Mirrors: Difference Between Plane & Spherical

After watching this lesson, you will be able to explain what a mirror is and how plane mirrors and spherical mirrors are different, including the images they produce. A short quiz will follow.

Ray Tracing with Mirrors: Reflected Images

19. Ray Tracing with Mirrors: Reflected Images

After watching this lesson, you will be able to explain what a mirror is and use ray tracing diagrams, along with the law of reflection, to explain what you see when you look in a mirror. A short quiz will follow.

Using Equations to Answer Mirror Questions

20. Using Equations to Answer Mirror Questions

After watching this lesson, you will be able to answer questions on mirrors, stating whether an image is real or virtual, upright or inverted, and larger or smaller. A short quiz will follow.

Thin Lens Equation: Examples & Questions

21. Thin Lens Equation: Examples & Questions

After watching this lesson, you will be able to explain what a lens is (both concave and convex), list uses of lenses in everyday life, and use the thin lens equation to solve problems. A short quiz will follow.

Using Equations to Answer Lens Questions

22. Using Equations to Answer Lens Questions

After watching this video, you should be able to use equations to answer lens questions, including figuring out whether the image produced by a lens is real or virtual, bigger or smaller, and upright or inverted. A short quiz will follow.

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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