Daily Facts
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Can Electromagnetic Radiation be Stopped?

August 8th Fact-of-the-Day

Almost everyone knows that electromagnetic radiation travels at the velocity of light in a vacuum (because light is electromagnetic radiation) and slower in all other mediums, but can it be slowed to a stop? Most things that have velocity can be slowed to a stop. It might be easier to analyze electromagnetic radiation if it can be stopped. If it cannot be stopped, why can't it be stopped? Electromagnetic radiation is both field waves and particles known as photons. It doesn't change from one to the other. Waves and photons are the same thing observed differently. Photons have zero rest mass, which is another way of saying they cease to exist if they stop. They have mass; and therefore existence; only if they move. Electromagnetic radiation would vanish if it was slowed to a stop because the photons, and therefore the waves, would cease to exist. ©2005 Martek, International. All rights reserved.


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