What Is Light?

We are so used to some things that we stopped wondering about them. Like light. What is light? Some kind of wavy thing, right? Kind of.

“Light is part of the electromagnetic spectrum, which ranges from radio waves to gamma rays. Electromagnetic radiation waves, as their names suggest are fluctuations of electric and magnetic fields, which can transport energy from one location to another. Visible light is not inherently different from the other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum with the exception that the human eye can detect visible waves. Electromagnetic radiation can also be described in terms of a stream of photons which are massless particles each traveling with wavelike properties at the speed of light. A photon is the smallest quantity (quantum) of energy which can be transported and it was the realization that light traveled in discrete quanta that were the origins of Quantum Theory.

It is no accident that humans can ‘see’ light. The detection of light is a very powerful tool for probing the universe around us. As light interacts with matter it can be become altered and by studying light that has originated or interacted with matter, many of the properties of that matter can be determined. It is through the study of light that for example we can understand the composition of the stars light years away or watch the processes that occur in the living cell as they happen.” http://www.andor.com/learning-academy/what-is-light-an-overview-of-the-properties-of-light

“The main source of light on Earth is the Sun. Sunlight provides the energy that green plants use to create sugars mostly in the form of starches, which release energy into the living things that digest them. This process of photosynthesis provides virtually all the energy used by living things. Historically, another important source of light for humans has been fire, from ancient campfires to modern kerosene lamps. With the development of electric lights and power systems, electric lighting has effectively replaced firelight. Some species of animals generate their own light, a process called bioluminescence. For example, fireflies use light to locate mates, and vampire squids use it to hide from prey.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light



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