Electromagnetic Radiation is all around us and we use it all the time! Be it radios, WiFi, the sun and even seeing colour, it is an integral part of how our world works.

Electromagnetic Radiation

Electromagnetic (EM) radiation is a form of energy that is all around us and takes many forms. Sunlight is also a form of EM energy, but visible light is only a small portion of the EM spectrum as shown below.

Electromagnetic Waves

EM waves are waves of energy. EM waves are produced by the vibration of charged particles and have both electrical and magnetic properties. These waves travel through a vacuum (e.g space) at the speed of light. Our eyes are tuned to the specific region of the EM spectrum which allows us to use other parts for different things. For example, you can work at your computer and see the EM waves(light) from your screen, however, you don’t see the radio waves for your WiFi, nor the radio waves for your GPS from your phone, nor the microwaves carrying phone calls and text messages etc etc.

If we could see the whole spectrum, we would have a hard time processing it all. Our devices, however, can be tuned to listen for these specific waves and their energy (like our eyes are) which allows it to be translated into an electrical signal in our device.

More Enigmas
Electromagnetic Spectrum
Everyday Enigmas