Freq Wavelengths

VisibleSpectrum 2020 wFreq 25pct 1
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Freq Wavelengths

These slides are all about the Speed of Light. We all know about the speed of light, right? …Oui?…Si? ("…no, just plain 'c', jokes the pretend engineer").

[To just download the slides, click the blue button to the left, put in the passcode QC_b4_QA.]

A fun trick is to take the Frequency of the color Orange in hertz (or Hz or actually …what is that science number for trillion? Terahertz – meaning 12 zeros)) and multiply that frequency by the Wavelength of Orange (in meters, though so small that it is a zero, a decimal point then nine zeros – the science number is that hip number 'nano' – the total is, 500 Terahertz multiplied by 600 nanometers, which equals 300,000,000 meters per second.

Another example is Blue. Multiply the Frequency by the Wavelength: 666 x 1012 x 450 x 10-9 = 3.00 x 108 meters/second (that is 3 with 8 zeros, or again, 300,000,000 meters per second.)

299,792,458 is the exactly correct number, but we can use approximate numbers since …why not? …it is memorable. …and since they (the different frequencies) all change slightly in different circumstances. Some of the variables include defining exactly "What is Blue?" and what material is the light going through? …the vacuums of empty space or a glass prism or water? 300 thousand kilometers a second is good number to use for the "Speed of Light" …and memorable. (A kilometer is, of course, 1,000 meters, so 300,000,000 meters equals 300,000 kilometers.)

Sometimes you will see the chart going one way, with the size of the wave ascending (the wavelength getting larger – like this one does) and sometimes you will see it with the frequency of the wave ascending (the speed the wave in this diagram is fastest on the left, and slower on the right, which translates to more energy on the left and less on the right). No matter which direction, frequency and wavelength will correspond to each other in the inverse – one set of numbers increasing and one set of numbers decreasing – always tied to the speed of light. The science (or math) term is "inversely proportional".

As a sidenote before the technical specs of the slides, the frequency of the tuning note on a piano – the "A" note above middle "C" – is 440 Hz. The word "Hertz" isn't used because it comes from some ancient civilization that studied light or sound or ripples in water. Hertz is the family named for a clever scientist who figured out a lot of different things.

In his honor the word "Hertz" was chosen to represent "Cycles per Second". The abbreviation is Hz. A frequency does not have to be "per second". The frequency that we travel in a car is kilometers per hour.

In simple terms, sound is a wave and a pure tone is a pure wave. If a wave is going through water (so you can see it) instead of air (which you cannot see), and you measure the top of the peak of one wave to the top of the peak of the next wave, that measurement is the Wavelength.

If you count how many of those peaks go by a certain mark every second, that is the Frequency. A simple example is to look at or lightly touch the strings of a piano or guitar as they vibrate back and forth. On the low notes you can see the motion, or feel the motion distinctly with your finger.

Back to our "A" above middle "C" – which is too fast to see, actually – it is interesting to compare those musical waves with the waves in light. Are the number of cycles per second of a particular frequency of light a thousand times more than the cycles per second of the note on the piano? …a million? …a billion? 

if we multiply this 440 cycles per second – by

[ ] 1,000 times – that is, a thousand times – that number is too small

[ ] 1,000,000 times – that is, a million times – still too small of a number

[X] 1,000,000,000 times – that is, a billion times – yes, the correct amount~!

[ ] 1,000,000,000,000 times – that is, a trillion times – OK; a bit too much

…the total of that multiplication would be the frequency of red light as it transitions to infrared light. 440 x a billion cycles per second. Or, to avoid counting the zeros, the science people say 440 times 1012. (440 times 10 to the 12th power – or for my simple mind, 440 followed by 12 zeros.)

The sensors called our 'eyes' almost can not see it. The sensors of our skin might sense it as heat. But the point is that the frequency of the middle notes of the piano are a billion times lower than the frequency of red light.

By the way; the Frequency and the Wavelength of Sound are also tied to each other – but it is different. There are more things to consider. Light doesn't care much if it travels through the vacuum of space or glass or water …a little bit of change, but not much – and when it gets in the clear again, it goes back to its original speed. With sound, it really matters what it is going through. It is just as fascinating. I remember my lesson though; with low frequencies, all you get to affect it with is mass and distance. And that is what makes it a great topic for another time.

The TIFF files here are 4K, 4096 (not 3840) x 2160, 16 bit RGB in the 2020 color space.

This zip file is composed of 4 slides;

      • the lower layer with the colors in their full monochromatic variation (without white or black added, though it should be noted that since the slide has an alpha channel that allows the background to leak through, that there is also a white layer below them – figuring that this would be shown on a white screen anyway. [in fact, in this version the background is black],

      • one slide of a gradient black on the bottom to white on the top which, when laid over in Hard Light mode (not Screen) creates the variation of the color space (presuming that the white point is declared, which is D65),

      • one with the numbers and

      • one with the title.

    Hope you learn or teach and have as much fun using this as I had making it.

    About those little numbers on the center line…

    The passcode is QC_b4_QA

    VisibleSpectrum 2020 wFreq 25pct 1
    VisibleSpectrum 2020 wFreq 25pct 1

















    About those little numbers on the center line…

    There is one more story on this graphic, which tells of the amount of energy that goes flying off when the electron associated with the photon changes its orbit. This energy is greater the shorter the wavelength, and measured in eV. The shortest wavelength in the visible spectrum is, of course, in the violet side. We know that as the waves get shorter and go invisible to the eyes of humans, they slip into the area called x-rays and gamma rays and others that we now know are actually very destructive to human tissue. But this is all, yet again, a different story – like tangents in rain.

    Energy in eV

    Violet (limit) 












    Red (limit)  1.77

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