Light and Matter - book 3 - Vibrations and Waves by B. Crowell

By B. Crowell

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What would this sound like if they were sound waves? 5 The Doppler Effect The figure shows the wave pattern made by the tip of a vibrating rod which is moving across the water. If the rod had been vibrating in one place, we would have seen the familiar pattern of concentric circles, all centered on the same point. But since the source of the waves is moving, the wavelength is shortened on one side and lengthened on the other. This is known as the Doppler effect. Note that the velocity of the waves is a fixed property of the medium, so for example the forward-going waves do not get an extra boost in speed as would a material object like a bullet being shot forward from an airplane.

Einstein realized that this solved the problem for sound or water waves, but would not salvage the principle of relative motion in the case of light waves, since light is not a vibration of any physical medium such as water or air. Beginning by imagining what a beam of light would look like to a person riding a motorcycle alongside it, Einstein eventually came up with a radical new way of describing the universe, in which space and time are distorted as measured by observers in different states of motion.

Instead, ripples spread out, and the process of flattening out occurs over a long period of time, during which the water at the center vibrates above and below the normal water level. This type of wave motion is the topic of the present chapter. Second, you have found that the ripples bounce off of the walls of the cup, in much the same way that a ball would bounce off of a wall. In the next chapter we discuss what happens to waves that have a boundary around them. g. the water) was infinite and the same everywhere.

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