ELECTROMAGNETIC SPECTRUM



One of the most amazing aspects of physics is the electromagnetic spectrum—radio waves, microwaves, infrared light, visible light, ultraviolet light, x rays, and gamma rays—as well as the relationship between the spectrum and electromagnetic force. The applications of the electromagnetic spectrum in daily life begin the moment a person wakes up in the morning and "sees the light." Yet visible light, the only familiar part of the spectrum prior to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, is also its narrowest region. Since the beginning of the twentieth century, uses for other bands in the electromagnetic spectrum have proliferated. At the low-frequency end are radio, short-wave radio, and television signals, as well as the microwaves used in cooking. Higher-frequency waves, all of which can be generally described as light, provide the means for looking deep into the universe—and deep into the human body.

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