# The Naked Scientists Forum

### Author Topic: what is an electro magnetic wave ?  (Read 1657 times)

#### percepts

• Full Member
• Posts: 53
##### what is an electro magnetic wave ?
« on: 31/05/2013 14:55:21 »
contemplating this I perceive it as like a caterpillars body motion through space at the speed of light. But I also perceive space as a medium through which it travels ( higgs field ?).  But what is it? Just a disturbance in the higgs field which causes fluctuations in measured energy at point of capture (sine wave) ?
I guess what I'm really asking is, what is the nature of an electromagnetic wave and is it the higgs field which defines its peaks and troughs?

p.s. I'm not a scientist and have only very elementary grasp of mathematics. I'm really looking for a simple english explanation.

« Last Edit: 31/05/2013 14:57:10 by percepts »

#### Pmb

• Neilep Level Member
• Posts: 1838
• Physicist
##### Re: what is an electro magnetic wave ?
« Reply #1 on: 01/06/2013 04:43:25 »
contemplating this I perceive it as like a caterpillars body motion through space at the speed of light. But I also perceive space as a medium through which it travels ( higgs field ?).  But what is it? Just a disturbance in the higgs field which causes fluctuations in measured energy at point of capture (sine wave) ?
I guess what I'm really asking is, what is the nature of an electromagnetic wave and is it the higgs field which defines its peaks and troughs?

p.s. I'm not a scientist and have only very elementary grasp of mathematics. I'm really looking for a simple english explanation.

Sorry but I only know what a higgs field is by name and that it has something to do with inertia. I don't think that it applies to massless particles of EM waves.

An EM wave is an electric and magnetic field which propagates through space and is the solution to Maxwell's wave equation. The fields vary in both space and time.

#### evan_au

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##### Re: what is an electro magnetic wave ?
« Reply #2 on: 01/06/2013 10:13:21 »
A good place to start might be: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_radiation
Electromagnetic radiation represents a wave propagating in the electromagnetic field which fills the universe.
It is one of several fields which fill the universe (gravity and the Higgs field are two other fields).

According to Professor Matt Strassler's web page, the electromagnetic field does not interact directly with the Higgs particle. The Higgs particle adds mass to particles with mass. In contrast, electromagnetic radiation (photons) do not have mass.

See Figure 2 on: http://profmattstrassler.com/articles-and-posts/particle-physics-basics/the-known-apparently-elementary-particles/
On this diagram, the purple lines show electromagnetic interactions. The green outlines show particles interacting with the Higgs particle.

As he explains elsewhere, electromagnetic radiation can interact indirectly with massive particles by means of "virtual" particles, but these indirect interactions are much weaker than the direct interactions shown on this diagram.

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##### Re: what is an electro magnetic wave ?
« Reply #2 on: 01/06/2013 10:13:21 »