SEP: Waves and Radiation
Waves and Radiation is one of the publication themes of the Gatsby Science Enhancement Programme.
For other publication themes, visit the SEP homepage.
The last one hundred years has seen an explosion in the use of electromagnetic radiation for communication. Using simple practical kits, Radiation and Communication looks at the properties of radio waves, microwaves, infrared radiation and light, and how they can be used to carry analogue and digital signals. Visible light is the region of the electromagnetic spectrum with which we are most familiar. In our everyday lives, we use a wide range of ‘colour mixing’ devices – from televisions to printers.
The activities in Mixing Colours help students understand the scientific principles behind this technology. Silicon-based sensors detect photons that we ourselves cannot, providing an extension to our senses.
Seeing Beyond the Visible looks at how infrared and visible images can be obtained and manipulated. We use electromagnetic radiation in a wide range of applications and contexts, from studying the structure of materials, to finding out about galaxies.
Light and Matter provides a practical introduction to the nature and applications of electromagnetic radiation. Radiation is all around us and is part of our everyday life. Although technological advances have increased our exposure, much of the radiation that bombards us comes from natural sources.
Radiation in the Environment looks at practical activities, media reports and the public’s understanding of the science involved. Scientists use sound in a variety of ways, for example, to learn more about materials, how to control sound and in medical research.
Sound includes activities about the sources of sounds, how sounds interact with materials and how sounds are detected. Scientists also study the anatomy and physiology of human speech, and how it has evolved.
Voicebox: the Physics and Evolution of Speech presents a set of practical activities that encourage students to understand human speech at a basic level, and explores animal sounds and the evolution of human speech. Communication devices such as mobile phones are so much part of daily life that it is easy to take the underlying science for granted.
Communications: Transmitting and Receiving Signals looks at the effects of noise on a signal, optical fibre connections, the use of carrier waves, and at analogue and digital transmission. The waves generated by earthquakes travel right through and around the world and can provide us with a unique look into the Earth’s interior.
Seismology includes a range of practical activities using simple kits that allow students to model the use of seismometers.