Why does Energy move in waves?


Why is it that most forms of Energy are transfered in waves? e.g. light, sound, and the ocean. I feel like it would make more sense for energy to travel in just one big wave.

In: 3

Ok, under that logic, if I shine a torch for 1 second compared to I shine a torch for 10 seconds, would the wavelength of the light be the same?

Visible light is characterised by a certain wavelength. Under your logic of travelling in one big wave, there would no longer be a constant wavelength.

In general, ignoring lots of subtleties, single instantaneous events *do* transfer energy as a single wave. A sharp sound, for instance, or the pressure wave of an explosive. What creates multiple waves is *vibration*, but all a vibration is is a bunch of instantaneous events occuring periodically. Some subtleties:

– Subtlety 1: Light shouldn’t be thought of as a wave in the classical sense. Sure, mathematically some it’s properties suggests wave-like behavior, but that mathematical relation between light and waves doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a useful intuitive relation, especially for a layman. For one think, thinking that way prompts the question of “what medium is the wave traveling through?” for which there’s no good answer.

– Subtlety 2: Sound and water waves actually behave quite differently, as a result of something called Hyugen’s principle. If you drop a rock in a lake, you get a big wave traveling out in a circle from where the rock lands, and then you get all these smaller “residual” waves that follow it. If you clap your hands, you get a single sharp wave, traveling out from the source, and no residual waves. This difference is actually true of waves in any two dimensional vs three dimensional medium.

*”Everything in Life is Vibration” – Albert Einstein*

Your question is one level above this, if everything is a vibration, then from someone looking at it through time, it will look like a wave.

The question then is, why is everything vibration? We don’t know.

There are things that work like swings.

If you don’t touch the swing it doesn’t swing. If you disturb it, it starts to swing.

EM spectrum, liquid surfaces, vibrations including sound. These are all things that stay flat until disturbed, if you disturb them they start to swing “up and down” until they dissipate the energy you put in there.

Example: you drop a stone in the lake, the water is pushed down, bounces up, and the water around is affected and start copy that, and this makes the concentric waves. There’s simply nothing else the water can do, it’s not a solid, it can’t bounce the rock, it has to give cat to the rock. Doing so some rock energy moves the water and the water keeps moving until that energy is gone, dissipated by waves that lose energy when hitting the coast, and dissipate energy in heat due to liquid viscosity.

Because everything is a wave.

The most fundamental known level of reality — QMQFT — is just one giant wavefunction evolving. Non-waves are only an emergent property that behaves kinda like a non-wave under the classical approximation.