# Waves, Sound and Light: Light Waves

## Light Waves: Audio Guided Solution

#### Problem 4:

The German-born, American physicist Albert Michelson devoted much of his life to the accurate measurement of the speed of light. In 1923, he positioned mirrors and detectors on two different California mountains positioned nearly 35 km (nearly 22 miles) apart. Using a sophisticated timing method of involving the rotating of octagonal mirrors, Michelson determined the speed of light to be 299,774 km/sec. At this speed, estimate the time it takes light to travel 35 km between mountains.

## Audio Guided Solution

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## Habits of an Effective Problem Solver

• Read the problem carefully and develop a mental picture of the physical situation. If necessary, sketch a simple diagram of the physical situation to help you visualize it.
• Identify the known and unknown quantities and record in an organized manner, often times they can be recorded on the diagram itself. Equate given values to the symbols used to represent the corresponding quantity (e.g., v = 3.00x108 m/s, λ = 554 nm, f = ???).
• Use physics formulas and conceptual reasoning to plot a strategy for solving for the unknown quantity.
• Identify the appropriate formula(s) to use.
• Perform substitutions and algebraic manipulations in order to solve for the unknown quantity.

Get more information on the topic of Light Waves at The Physics Classroom Tutorial.

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