# (photos on screen) VO What do TV s, microwave ovens, satellite dishes, x-ray devices, and this baby s eyes have in common?

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1 Physics 1301 Introduction to Electromagnetic Waves (photos on screen) What do TV s, microwave ovens, satellite dishes, x-ray devices, and this baby s eyes have in common? They all use electromagnetic waves. In this unit, we will explore the seven types of electromagnetic waves, from radio waves to gamma rays. And we will concentrate on the one that is perhaps the most common visible light. (stars on screen) Light energy is one of the most important forms of energy in the universe. Light, through the process of photosynthesis is the force behind all life on earth. How is light produced and what physical laws determine the behavior of light? (Read objectives on screen.) So far this semester, we ve studied electricity, magnetism, and waves. Now, everything comes together for our study of electromagnetic waves. If you remember, there are two basic types of waves. Tell your teacher the big difference between mechanical waves, like sound, and electromagnetic waves. (light beam on screen) Light waves are just one type of electromagnetic wave. Unlike sound waves that can only travel through matter, electromagnetic waves can travel through the vacuum of space. Did you get it? Electromagnetic waves can travel through empty space. But there are other differences, such as how electromagnetic waves are produced. Now, when we studied electricity and magnetism, you learned that there is an important link between the two. You already know that Michael Faraday discovered that a changing magnetic field could produce an electric field. Well, in 1860, a Scottish scientist, named Clerk Maxwell completed the picture. He proposed the idea that a changing electric field could then produce a magnetic field. And here s the big news. It turns out that you don t even need a wire or a magnet. All you need is an electrical charge that is vibrating in some way. Here s a very simple example. When I place a negative charge on this rod and move it, what kind of field develops around it? Tell your teacher. A moving charge produces a magnetic field. But when the charged rod slows down and stops the magnetic field collapses to zero, doesn t it? So the magnetic field is changing as it grows and then collapses. And, according to Maxwell, this produces what? It produces an electric field. Now what happens as the charged rod vibrates back and forth, starting,

5 Yep. It s another example of resonance. And the radio receiver acts like a motor, converting the electric audio signals into motion in the speaker, making sound. (satellite dishes on screen) Microwaves are like radio waves, but are slightly more energetic because of higher frequencies. Microwaves are used in satellite communications, and microwave ovens are used to heat nonmetallic materials. (microwave oven on screen) You may have heard that microwave ovens cook food from the inside out. And conventional ovens cook food from the outside in. What does that mean? Let s start by talking about how conventional ovens work. The heating element in an electric oven or the gas flame in a gas oven gets really hot. Air molecules next to the heating element touch it and are forced to vibrate faster. These hot molecules jostle their neighboring molecules, and so on. Then the hot air next to the bread dough jostles the molecules on the surface of the dough, which are forced to vibrate faster and get hotter. And they transfer the heat energy to the next layer, and so on throughout the dough. This is called heat conduction, since touching molecules transfer the heat. Meanwhile, the hot, dry air in the oven evaporates moisture from the outside of the biscuit, causing it to get crisp as it continues to cook. If you set the temperature of the oven too high, the outside of the bread will burn before the inside gets a chance to cook. Now, watch our students do some cooking with a microwave oven while you hear about how it works. And fill in the blanks in your note-taking guide. (students on screen) In a microwave oven, the electromagnetic waves penetrate the food fairly uniformly throughout. And very large molecules such as fats, proteins, and carbohydrates begin to vibrate sympathetically because the electromagnetic waves have matched their natural frequencies. The vibrating molecules produce heat, which cooks the food from the inside. Meanwhile, air molecules are too small to be excited by microwaves, so the air inside the microwave ovens stays close to room temperature. That s why foods cooked in a microwave oven don t get a crisp, brown crust. Microwaves are not absorbed by most glass, plastic, and ceramic objects. The containers get hot only after the food cooks and transfers heat to the containers by conduction. Metals reflect microwaves and can cause fires or damage the oven itself. They should never be used in a microwave oven. See all the steam coming out of this bag of popcorn? Well, water is one of the main molecules that 5

6 absorb microwaves and vibrate sympathetically. But water molecules are small and shouldn t have a natural frequency in the microwave range. Well, if you remember your chemistry, water molecules are strongly attracted to other water molecules because of hydrogen bonding. So they act like much larger molecules and form steam in a microwave oven. That s why you should prick holes in potatoes before microwaving them to let the steam out and avoid a food explosion. (physics challenge on screen) Here s a challenge question for you. Why do microwave recipes include a stand time after the food is removed from the oven? Think about resonance and tell your teacher. When you stop pushing a child on a swing, does the child stop swinging immediately? No, and it s the same with vibrating molecules. Even after you take the food out of the oven, it continues to cook itself. That s why recipes include the stand time. If an egg were completely done when it was taken out of the microwave oven, it would be as hard as a hockey puck before you got it to the table. OK, enough about microwaves. Let s move on to the next type of electromagnetic wave. (electromagnetic chart on screen) Infrared rays are located below the lower frequency red end of visible light wave frequencies. Infrared waves are easily absorbed by matter and transformed into heat energy. On a summer day, the warmth you feel is from the infrared rays of the sun. The main source of infrared waves is the motion of regular-sized atoms and molecules. So all objects emit infrared radiation in the form of heat. That s why these waves are sometimes called heat waves. Of course, the heat we feel from the sun, a fire or a radiator are all examples of infrared waves. Infrared radiation also can be produced electronically. One example is the heat lamp that keeps your fries warm in a fast food restaurant. Some animals can detect infrared rays. Rattlesnakes have sensors that allow them to find warmblooded animals even in the dark. Geologists use infrared-sensitive film in special cameras to detect underground lava flows or find oil deposits. Your teacher might want you to find some other uses for infrared photography, such as in medicine or the military. Now, while our skin is sensitive to infrared waves, our eyes are sensitive to the next type of electromagnetic wave, visible light. We ll be devoting the rest of the school year to the study of light, but for now, just get the basic facts of light. (diagram on screen) Visible light is defined as electromagnetic radiation to which human eyes are sensitive. Surprisingly, the range of visible light frequencies makes up less than one millionth of a percent of the electromagnetic spectrum. 6

7 The different frequencies of visible light are seen as different colors, from red, with the lowest frequency and the least energy, to violet, which has the highest frequency and the most energy. We ll talk about how visible light is produced in the next program. But now, it s time to go on to the next type of electromagnetic radiation. (electromagnetic spectrum on screen) Just past the high frequency violet end of the visible light portion of the electromagnetic spectrum are ultraviolet waves. Like infrared and visible light, these rays are produced by the sun. The high energy of these waves allows them to penetrate and damage living cells, causing sunburn and even skin cancer in humans. The power of UV rays is also used to sterilize medical instruments by killing bacteria. As you just saw, after visible light, electromagnetic waves start getting dangerous. Now remember that all seven types of electromagnetic waves are ranges of frequencies, so the lower end of the ultraviolet range, sometimes called UV-A waves are just a little higher in energy than visible violet light. UV-B waves are higher in energy and cause sunburns and skin cancer, but they also can be used to kill bacteria and sterilize medical instruments. Most of the highest frequency ultraviolet waves are blocked from reaching the earth by gases in the atmosphere like ozone. That s a very good reason for protecting the ozone layer, which is destroyed by the chlorofluorocarbon compounds found in some aerosol sprays. You are probably pretty familiar with ultraviolet waves, so let s see how you do on this challenge. (man in front of window on screen) Is this statement fact or fiction? Sunlight through a window can give you a sunburn. Tell your teacher. It s fiction. Ultraviolet waves cannot penetrate glass. When you feel your skin getting hot from sunlight coming through a window, that s infrared waves, which don t cause sunburns. Are you ready for the next type of electromagnetic wave? Watch this. (X-ray device on screen) X-rays and gamma are electromagnetic radiation of even shorter wavelength and higher energy than UV waves. X-rays, discovered in 1895 by the German scientist, William Roentgen, are capable of penetrating all types of soft tissue in the body. More dense materials like bones and tumors absorb more X-rays than normal tissue. This makes X-rays useful to form images. However, X-rays can cause changes in cells and can lead to mutations or cancer. Therefore the use of X-rays must be carefully controlled. Do you know how X-rays got their name? A German scientist named Wilhelm Roentgen discovered 7

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