Electromagnetic Spectrum - Research Article from World of Earth Science

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Spectrum of electromagnetic radiation. Illustration by Robert L. Wolke. Reproduced by permission. Spectrum of electromagnetic radiation. Illustration by Robert L. Wolke. Reproduced by permission.

The electromagnetic spectrum encompasses a continuous range of frequencies or wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation, ranging from long wavelength, low energy radio waves, to short wavelength, high frequency, high-energy gamma rays. The electromagnetic spectrum is traditionally divided into regions of radio waves, microwaves, infrared radiation, visible light, ultraviolet rays, x rays, and gamma rays.

Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell's (1831–1879) development of a set of equations that accurately described electromagnetic phenomena allowed the mathematical and theoretical unification of electrical and magnetic phenomena. When Maxwell's calculated speed of light fit well with experimental determinations of the speed of light, Maxwell and other physicists realized that visible light should be a part of a broader electromagnetic spectrum containing forms of electromagnetic radiation that varied from visible light only in terms of wavelength and wave frequency. Frequency is defined...


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This section contains 986 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Electromagnetic Spectrum Encyclopedia Article
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Electromagnetic Spectrum from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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