P6 The wave model of radiation
For students and teachers
This animation of a transverse and a longitudinal wave may help you understand how the medium moves as a wave passes through it.
This site gives a multicolour simulation of water waves in a ripple tank. For example, you can choose to look at waves passing through gaps (slits), at refraction, and at interference.
In this applet, which shows the diffraction of light, you can change the wavelength of the light being diffracted through a gap, and you can change the size of the gap.
Total internal reflection and its uses
On this site you can change the angle of a beam of light from the bottom of a pond and see how TIR at the surface of the water is changed.
This site explains how fibre-optic cables work.
John Tyndall demonstrated how a light beam could be trapped inside a stream of water. This site shows his experiment and how to set up a modern version using a laser.
This ‘fibre-optic chronology’ starts with the earliest known glass and finishes with statistics about sending information through optical fibres.
This site is called ‘The birth of fibre optics’ and has information about developments from 1854 to 1977
Find out how TIR can be used to bring daylight into buildings by using tubular sky-lights.
This site explains how endoscopes work . . .
. . . and on this site you can look at some photos taken with an endoscope, and move it forward or back for a different view.
This site explains how submarine periscopes make use of fibre optics.
Rainbows and light in the atmosphere
How rainbows are formed.
Here you will find lots of photos of atmospheric effects. There are very good images of rainbows but also lots of other interesting ones like sundogs and fogbows.
Observations in the infrared
The Cool Cosmos. Here you will find lots of information about infrared radiation, and lots of photos taken at these wavelengths. It includes the infrared zoo, with pictures of animals taken in the infrared wavelength range.
Have you ever wondered why toast goes brown? To find out, visit this website and click on the link ‘browning reactions’.
X rays and gamma rays
On this site you can find out about X-ray film badges, how they are constructed, and how they are used.
This is the website of the Health Protection Agency, Radiation Protection Division. It has information about radiation monitoring and health issues.
Find out about how X-rays were discovered, and about their uses.
This site also explains how X-rays work.
Find out how X-rays are used for airport security.
This site explains how gamma rays are used in radiotherapy.
This site explains how the Mars Desert Research Station is being used on Earth to prepare astronauts for a trip to Mars.
This site considers the hazards of space radiation.
Here you can find out about what it would be like living on Mars.
This site is called ‘Being human on Mars’, and it explains how the differences between Earth and Mars would affect the human body.
This is the home page of the SETI (Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence) Institute.
Transmitting sound and data using waves
Adventures in Cybersound – From dots to data: the story of digital transmission and data communication. This is an Australian article tracing the history of data transmission from Morse code to ISDN.
This site, from Georgia Stage University Department of Physics and Astronomy, is about broadcasting information and explains AM and FM.
This site explains how radio communications work.
This site describes the frequency bands of the radio spectrum that are assigned to different users.
Traffic waves. This animation may be useful if the subject comes up. It shows how cars braking can cause a jam which continues after the incident has cleared. A wave propagates back from the incident. This concept will be too advanced for some students as the cars are moving, not vibrating, and in the opposite direction to the wave.
Details of the demonstration of refraction of sound by focusing it with a balloon as a sound lens.
This site covers the discovery of the diffraction of light by Grimaldi and provides detailed information for setting up this demonstration with readily available apparatus. You could even try this at home.
This site has details of how to set up and observe Young’s fringes with white light, making your own slide with Aquadag.
This is a really useful website if you are interested in infrared photography.
Here you can find details of the Channel 4 TV broadcast on The Electromagnetic Spectrum, together with the associated resources that may be useful.
If you are in the south of England, the Southampton University show ‘The Light Express’ may be useful.