How do transverse waves affect our lives?

1 Answer
Nov 10, 2015

Visible light, radio waves, microwaves and the rest of the electromagnetic spectrum are transverse waves, as well as ocean waves.


The waves of the electromagnetic spectrum are all transverse, and they all have a major impact on our lives.

These waves have many uses which are vital to our daily lives: visible light allows us to see; microwaves and radio waves allow for long-range communication via mobile phones, television and radio; infra-red waves are used in night-vision cameras and in many remote controls; and x-rays are used in medical imaging; and lasers (beams of concentrated light) are used for many precision tasks, such as cutting materials, reading and writing optical discs such as CDs and DVDs, and preforming delicate surgery.

Electromagnetic waves can also have some undesirable effects: gamma rays and x-rays can damage DNA and cause cancer after prolonged exposure (although the amounts used in medical imaging are low enough to be safe); UV light can cause sunburn and sometimes even skin cancer; and lasers can blind or burn if used incorrectly.

Ocean waves are also transverse, and these are used for many recreational activities such as surfing and swimming. They can also be used to generate renewable electricity from the wave motion.