Wave Phenomena

The basis for understanding electromagnetic waves that constitute light, matter waves in quantum physics, and gravitational waves in cosmology.

Waves are one manifestation of matter and energy, the other being particles. This course is an introduction to the physics of vibration and waves treated in a unified way across various types of physical phenomena such as mechanical, acoustic, electromagnetic, etc.

The course begins with a review of the harmonic oscillator. Topics include superposition of simple harmonic motions of the same and different frequencies, Lissajous figures, coupled oscillators and normal modes, forced oscillations and resonance, transverse and longitudinal waves, interference, diffraction and the Doppler effect. All the topics are studied experimentally along with their associated mathematical models. Experiments include the study of coupled oscillators, mechanical resonance, ripple tank experiments and optical interference and diffraction.