studied wave phenomena generally, let’s take a look
at the special case of electromagnetic waves. EM waves
are transverse traveling waves produced by the oscillations
of an electric field and a magnetic field. Because they are not
transmitted by any material medium, as sound waves are through air
molecules, EM waves can travel through the vacuum of space and give
us valuable information about the universe beyond the Earth’s atmosphere.
Electromagnetic waves play a great many roles in our lives: we use
EM waves of different wavelengths to microwave our dinner, to transmit
radio signals, and to x-ray for broken bones. Most important, we
are only able to see because our eyes can detect the EM waves that
make up the spectrum of visible light.
Optics is the study of visible light, and
how light can be manipulated to produce visual images.