Waves & Optics
Properties of waves are introduced as we explore the wave velocity equation by finding the frequency and wavelength of different types of waves. Simple harmonic motion is introduced with a discussion of spring force and spring potential energy and how that motion relates to waves.
We visit a recording studio to explore the properties of sound. We explore the speed of sound as well as how our ears interpret changes in frequency and amplitude of a sound wave
We enlist the help of the police to analyze the Doppler effect as it relates to light and sound. We work through an example problem and bring clarity to a sometimes confusing equation.
We head back to the recording studio to study interference and diffraction of sound waves. We investigate qualitatively how diffraction affects sound waves of various frequencies. We also explore how constructive and destructive interference patterns are created and what that means for what we hear coming from a sound source.
We visit a university orchestra to help us understand wave interference and how resonance affects waves moving through different types of air columns and strings. We explore how to find various resonant frequencies using the wave velocity equation in combination with an equation that relates the wavelength of a wave to the length of a string, or a closed or open-ended tube.
We explore electromagnetic wave properties and the electromagnetic spectrum. The wave nature and particle nature of light are compared. We also examine how the wave velocity equation is applied to light.
In this segment, we dive into the concept of polarization. We investigate polarization qualitatively by observing how light behaves as it travels through different types of filters and through Malus' law, mathematically.
Light diffraction and interference are investigated as we observe light going through single and double slits. We then apply these ideas as we learn about holograms
The concept of color is explored as we learn about subtractive and additive color mixing. We examine what types of colors form when we mix different wavelengths of light. Properties and uses of pigments and dyes are discussed, the concept of luminance is introduced, and we see what makes an object transparent, translucent, or opaque.
Spectral composition is the focus of this segment. We learn about emission and absorption spectra, how they are created, and how scientists use these concepts in the real world to make important discoveries.
The law of reflection is introduced as we learn about the difference between specular and diffuse reflection and discover the difference between real and virtual images.
The properties of spherical mirrors are discussed as we learn such terms as center of curvature, focal point, and principal axis. The properties of images formed by concave and convex mirrors are examined through ray diagrams.
Refraction is explained by looking into a pool and seeing Snell's law in action. We also explore the concepts of total internal reflection and formation of the critical angle.
The properties of spherical lenses are discussed as we learn terms such as center of curvature, focal point, and principal axis. The properties of images formed by concave and convex lenses are also examined through ray diagrams.