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73 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
amplitude
The maximum displacement of a wave's medium from its equilibrium point.
crest
The highest point on a wave.
electromagnetic waves
Waves formed by rapidly changing electric and magnetic fields and that require no medium.
equilibrium position
The position of a medium that's undisturbed; its resting position.
frequency
The number of wavelengths that pass by a particular point in space during a one-second interval.
longitudinal wave
A wave in which the medium is displaced in a direction parallel to the motion of the wave.
mechanical waves
Waves formed by disturbances in a physical medium.
medium
Material through which a wave travels.
period
The time it takes one complete wavelength to pass a given point.
periodic wave
A series of evenly timed disturbances in a medium.
reciprocal
A mathematical relationship in which a value, expressed as a fraction, can be turned into the other simply by flipping the fraction.
speed of a wave
The speed at which a wave travels.
surface wave
A wave that combines transverse and longitudinal motion.
transverse wave
A wave in which the medium is displaced in a direction perpendicular to the motion of the wave.
trough
The lowest point on a wave.
wave
A regular disturbance that moves either through a medium or space.
wavelength
The distance between successive compression peaks in a wave.
wave pulse
A single disturbance moving through a medium.
absorption
The transfer of wave energy into the medium, usually in the form of heat, when a wave reaches a boundary.
antinodes
The points of maximum displacement in a standing wave.
boundary
The interface between two different media.
compression wave
A longitudinal wave that propagates through a series of rarefactions and compressions of the medium.
compressions
The higher-pressure (denser) regions of sound waves.
constructive interference
When waves interfere to create a new wave amplitude larger than either of the original waves.
decibel
A unit used to measure sound intensity, or loudness, using a logarithmic scale based on the powers of 10.
destructive interference
When waves interfere to create a new wave amplitude smaller than either of the original waves.
diffraction
The change in direction of sound waves as the pass nearby objects and obstacles.
echo
The repeated occurrence of a sound, caused by the original sound wave and its reflection reaching the observer at different times.
fundamental
A standing wave in a string that has one antinode and zero nodes. It is the loudest-pitched sound of a plucked string.
harmonics
The overlapping standing waves of many different frequencies that occur in a string when it's plucked.
in phase
When two waves have amplitudes that are in the same direction.
interference
The superposition of two or more waves, resulting in a new wave pattern.
principle of superposition
When two or more waves meet, the result is a new wave whose amplitude is the sum of the amplitudes of all the individual waves.
out of phase
When two waves have amplitudes that are in opposite directions.
nodes
The points of minimum, or zero, displacement in a standing wave.
pitch
The "highness" or "lowness" of a sound, as directly to and determined by its frequency.
rarefactions
The lower-pressure (less dense) regions of sound waves.
reflection
The reversal of wave propagation direction when a wave reaches a boundary.
refraction
The transmission of a wave across a boundary, during which its frequency remains constant.
reverberation
The perceived elongation of a sound when the original sound wave and its reflection from a boundary reach the observer within 0.1 seconds of each other.
standing wave
A repeating wave pattern that has some number of stationary nodes and antinodes that can result from interfering waves.
subsonic
Slower than the speed of sound in a particular medium.
supersonic
Faster than the speed of sound in a particular medium.
transonic
Approximately the speed of sound in a particular medium. In air at room temperature, this is about 343 m/s.
electromagnetic spectrum
The entire range of electromagnetic radiation, from 0 Hz to more than 10^23 Hz.
infrared
Electromagnetic waves with frequency and energy just below the visible light spectrum.
nanometer
One billionth of a meter.
pigment
A substance used as coloring.
primary colors
Colors that aren't made up of any other colors. In pigments, the primary colors are magenta, cyan, and yellow. In light, they're red, green, and blue.
prism
A clear piece of glass used to separate white light into colors.
secondary colors of light
Colors formed by combining two primary colors of light.
speed of light
In a vacuum, the speed of light is 300,000 km/s (186,000 miles per second).
ultraviolet
Electromagnetic waves with frequency and energy just above the visible light spectrum.
visible light
Electromagnetic radiation having a wavelength between 380 and 750 nanometers.
angle of incidence
The angle the incident, or incoming, ray makes with the normal line.
angle of reflection
The angle the reflected ray makes with the normal line.
concave lens
A lens that's thicker at the edges than it is at the middle.
concave mirror
A mirror whose shiny side resembles the interior of a sphere.
converging lens
A lens that focuses parallel rays of light down to a single focal point.
convex lens
A lens that's thicker at the middle than at the edges.
convex mirror
A mirror whose shiny side resembles the exterior of a sphere.
eyepiece
In a microscope, the lens through which the observer looks.
index of refraction
A number that compares the speed of light in a given material to the speed of light in a vacuum.
law of reflection
When light hits a mirror, the angle of reflection equals the angle of incidence.
law of refraction
When light travels from a less dense material to a more dense material, it bends toward the normal.
lens
A transparent material, often made of glass, that's either thicker at its edge or thicker at its middle.
microscope
An optical instrument used for viewing enlarged images of very small objects.
normal
A line drawn perpendicular to a mirrored surface.
objective
In a microscope, the lens closest to the object being viewed.
real
An image, formed in a mirror or a lens, that's inverted and characterized by solid lines drawn on the ray diagram.
telescope
An optical instrument used for viewing distant objects.
virtual
An image, formed by a mirror or a lens, that's upright and characterized by the presence of dashed lines in the ray diagram.
wave-particle duality
The theory that light travels as both a wave and a series of particles at the same time.