Regents Physics - Waves

Waves transfer energy through matter or space. We find waves everywhere: sound waves, light waves, microwaves, radio waves, water waves, earthquake waves, slinky waves, x-rays, and on and on. Developing an understanding of waves will allow us to understand how energy is transferred in the universe, and will eventually lead to a better understanding of matter and energy itself!



  1. Define a pulse and a wave.
  2. Explain the difference between mechanical and electromechanical waves.
  3. Explain the characteristics of transverse and longitudinal waves.
  4. Describe the behavior of a pulse at a boundary.
  5. Utilize the principle of superposition to analyze constructive and destructive interference.
  6. Utilize the relationship between wave characteristics such as frequency, period, amplitude, wavelength, and velocity to solve problems.
  7. Describe the formation of standing waves and explain nodes, antinodes, and resonance.
  8. Understand the nature of sound waves.
  9. Apply the Doppler effect qualitatively to problems involving moving sources or moving observers.
  10. Explain the law of reflection.
  11. Understand and apply Snell's law to problems involving wave refraction.
  12. Calculate the index of refraction in a medium.
  13. Relate the diffraction of light to its wave characteristics.
  14. Recognize characteristics of EM waves and determine the type of EM wave based on its characteristics.

Topics of Study

  1. Wave Characteristics
  2. Wave Interference
  3. Wave Phenomena
  4. Electromagnetic Spectrum
  5. Waves Quiz