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Light is a ripple in the pool of space time.

Rockylightning
Posts: 2,862
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4/18/2011 10:09:33 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
I was attending a college lecture on...I forget what it was a while ago, either physics or some philosophy. The professor stated "Light is a ripple in the pool of space time." I can somewhat imagine this but what did he mean? It's been really bugging me lately so can anyone help explain?
headphonegut
Posts: 4,122
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4/19/2011 12:41:54 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 4/18/2011 10:09:33 PM, Rockylightning wrote:
I was attending a college lecture on...I forget what it was a while ago, either physics or some philosophy. The professor stated "Light is a ripple in the pool of space time." I can somewhat imagine this but what did he mean? It's been really bugging me lately so can anyone help explain?

that's a nice image actually

space is a vacuum and there is no medium for anything to travel through it.
light is an electromagnetic wave a medium traveling through itself (whatever that means).

this is interesting. very interesting. NS BTW
crying to soldiers coming home to their dogs why do I torment myself with these videos?
omelet
Posts: 416
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4/19/2011 7:59:30 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 4/18/2011 10:09:33 PM, Rockylightning wrote:
I was attending a college lecture on...I forget what it was a while ago, either physics or some philosophy. The professor stated "Light is a ripple in the pool of space time." I can somewhat imagine this but what did he mean? It's been really bugging me lately so can anyone help explain?

It's just a poetic way of saying that light is a wave that does not travel through a medium [as sound waves do]. This is because light is actually made of particles, unlike sound which is merely an effect that happens to groups of already existing particles.

Also, this is science not philosophy.
Cliff.Stamp
Posts: 2,169
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4/19/2011 8:46:52 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 4/18/2011 10:09:33 PM, Rockylightning wrote:

The professor stated "Light is a ripple in the pool of space time." I can somewhat imagine this but what did he mean?

A ripple in a pool is a wave (ripple) travelling through a medium (pool), the disturbance of the water locally extends out and influences non-adjacent matter. The interesting part about this is that the molecules in the water stay where they are (within some minor movement) but the influence, the way, travels across the pool and for example could hit your friend at the other end. This is very different for example than throwing a baseball across the top of the pool and hitting your friend at the other end. Here the ball physically moves across the pool, but again the water in the wave itself is relatively still (just moving up and down) but the wave travels across the pool.

Light however while also a wave does not seem to require something to travel through, there is no pool as it where and this has caused no undue matter of concern when it was discovered and much experiments were performed. The quote is just a clever way to note that the waves of light are in the nature of space itself, space time just referring to the four dimensional space that describes both space and time together as one co-ordinate system. The point of the quote I guess would be that light simply travels though space and time directly, it does not need a "water" to create the wave as it were.

In general however when someone is attempting such a comment, it is almost always the case they heard something and are repeating it to sound clever and the best way to handle it is to repeat it in kind but be even more indirect, something similar to :

"But is not space-time itself simply ripples in the ocean that is consciousness?"

alluding that what we perceive as the universe is simply a forced creation due to our limited ability to sense what exists. Current best explanation of what actually is reveals existence which shows that our perception of reality compares to reality in the same way that a drop of paint compares to all paintings which have ever been made.