You are here:

Physics/physics

Advertisement


Question
why wave does not have mass since it also consist of particles & particles do have mass??

Answer
If fact, most waves are made up of matter that does have mass. I suspect that you are referring to the principle exception to this, light! Light is made of oscillating electric and magnetic fields where the magnitudes of the electric and magnetic fields vary sinusoidally with time. Time varying electric fields give rise to magnetic fields while time varying magnet fields give rise to electric fields. In a sense light is a bit like a cat chasing its own tail! Some charged particle somewhere was forced to accelerate. As it did so it generated a time varying electric field. This time varying electric field then caused the generation of a time varying magnetic field which then generated a time varying magnetic field which then generated a time varying electric field, etc! Finally, somewhere in space this light wave then encounters a charged particle which it then causes to accelerate! So ultimately ALL light is caused by accelerating charged particles and ALL light ends its existence by accelerating a charged particle.

Physics

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


James J. Kovalcin

Expertise

I am teaching or have taught AP physics B and C [calculus based mechanics & electricity and magnetism] as well as Lab Physics for college bound students. I have a BS in Physics from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master of Arts in Teaching from same. I have been teaching physics for 34 years. I am constantly updating my skills and have a particular interest in modern physics topics.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.