Unit 4: Light and Optics
In this unit we will study the physical properties of waves with a focus on light. We will begin with an explanation of the concept of image formation using mirrors and lenses. This is a particularly important concept for most people, as a large number of us need glasses and contact lenses to see clearly. If you don't yet need corrective lenses to improve your vision, just be patient, because 75% of adults require optical devices to see well. The understanding of these useful instruments is called "geometric optics." We will also study what physicists call "wave optics" with an emphasis on diffraction, interference and polarization. When a wave bends around an obstacle, we say it diffracts. This behavior can be demonstrated with all waves, but it is most interesting when we diffract light to observe patterns of interference. In this unit you will learn such things as how one can measure the wavelength of light using diffraction experiments and how the polarization of light allows for the projection of 3D movies.
Suggested timeframe: 5 weeks
•Energy and momentum can be transferred through wave phenomena without mass transfer.