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Waves – it’s what your grades look like when you’re under pressure from both your family and the latest season of Game of Thrones. But seriously, ever since some British bloke thought it would be cool to look at light and energy in terms of waves, it has received a lot of attention and frankly a pretty vast fan following. Since then, we have managed to do a lot with these quirky figments of nature.

We all know about applications of sound waves in SONAR and the like. But what about electromagnetic waves? The invisible light that is outside our perception. In the year 1840, Samuel Morse developed a revolutionary way to communicate messages over long distances using these electromagnetic waves and named it the morse code. This kick started the age of wireless communication. With every few years, this technology would continue to be modified and enhanced to the point where teens all over the globe finally have the means to transmit content that would later lead them to regret their existence on this planet. Today’s WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS technologies would be inconceivable if it wasn’t for our understanding of these electromagnetic waves.

Apart from being a means of public embarrassment, high energy waves are widely used as an alternative to LPG while cooking food. Focussed microwaves help jiggle the atoms in food around, thus heating it. Yes, waves are the reason behind 30 minutes or free pizza delivery, so show some respect!

Electromagnetic radiation is used extensively in medicine for diagnosing and treating multiple ailments. X-rays pass through flesh but not dense material like bones, making it easier to detects fractures and other irregularities. Gamma rays are used extensively to treat cancers by killing mutated cells. Ultrasound technology is used to track the development of a foetus inside the mother.

Infrared ray sensors are used in night vision tech and in systems like burglar alarms and heat detectors.

However, there is a dark side to these wonders of nature. There is mounting evidence that suggests that these electromagnetic waves conspire to harm us all while we munch on our pizzas. These waves are absorbed by human and animal flesh and in the long run, end up damaging our cells.

Research also suggests that exposure to gamma rays almost certainly cause cancer, if they don’t kill you immediately. So, stick to your Hulk action figures for now. Prolonged proximity to cell phones and cell phone towers has been shown to pose dangerous risks to any living thing which dares to venture nearby.
So like most things in life, waves are a double edged sword. Though it is true that one cannot fathom a world devoid of embarrassment and pizzas, it is imperative for each of us to take it with a grain of salt and remain wary of the ugly consequences.

Physics has always found fascinating applications in real world. Find out how Newton’s First Law, Second Law and Third Law of Motion apply in real life!

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