Why light can travel with or without a medium

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How can light travel without a medium to travel through?

why light can travel with or without a medium

The Speed of Light is NOT About Light

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Dominic - This has to do with two theories of physics called quantum mechanics and special relativity. And the question that was troubling physicists about years ago was whether light is a particle or a wave. The problem is, you can describe some properties of light as being like particles and some properties such as diffraction and refraction in terms of a wave-like motion. And what physicists decided was that in fact, it's both at the same time. So light is made up of particles that we call photons, but it's also made up of waves of electric and magnetic fields which are electromagnetic waves. The question is, do those waves move through some medium like ripples on top of a pond, or do they just move through the vacuum of space?

By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy , Privacy Policy , and our Terms of Service. Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. It only takes a minute to sign up. As I understand it, electromagnetic waves have two components which are the result of each other, i. Is my understanding correct?

Whereas scientists ventured back and forth between the notion that light was a particle or a wave until the modern, the 20th century led to breakthroughs that showed that it behaves as both. However, there remains many fascinating and unanswered questions when it comes to light, many of which arise from its dual nature. For instance, how is it that light can be apparently without mass, but still behave as a particle? And how can it behave like a wave and pass through a vacuum, when all other waves require a medium to propagate? During the Scientific Revolution, scientists began moving away from Aristotelian scientific theories that had been seen as accepted canon for centuries. In many ways, this theory had been previewed by atomists of Classical Antiquity such as Democritus and Lucretius both of whom viewed light as a unit of matter given off by the sun.

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How Does Light Travel?

Hi Raja, Good question. First, let's think about why sound does not travel forever.

We know that light doesn't need a medium through which to travel if you accept that matter can travel through empty space, you should have.
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3 thoughts on “Why light can travel with or without a medium

  1. So, yes, mechanical waves require a medium in order to transport their energy .. Originally Answered: How can light travel without a medium?.

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