Science 101: Why are there so many different models of light? by: William C. Robertson, Ph.D.

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Is light a ray, a wave, or a particle? Yes, yes, and yes. An article in this issue (“The Benefits of Scientific Modeling,” p. 40) discusses the process of scientific modeling, and light is a great example of how modeling works. There are three viable models for light, each appropriate for different situations. The author will discuss the situations to which each applies, and then discuss how these different explanations are all compatible with one another.

  • Elementary
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Reviews (3)
  • on Wed Aug 24, 2011 8:51 PM

Robertson explains the three models of light, the Ray model, photoelectric effect, and the photon model. Through the use of diagrams and careful explanation, the reader has a greater understanding of light. Within the article are activities to help the reader with their understanding.

Sandra Gady  (Renton, WA)
Sandra Gady (Renton, WA)

  • on Thu Jul 07, 2011 12:02 PM

There are three models of light that students in physics learn. This article explains each of them and provides great diagrams to understand how they behave. Imbedded in the article are some simple activities that will help to understand the different models. As the author points out, other phenomena of science also have more than one model to explain it. This article seemed to appear in an issue about models and fits in well with this theme. There is a great deal to learn and understand but material is presented very clearly.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Thu May 05, 2011 3:17 PM

Dr. Bill Robertson provides ‘simple to understand’ explanations of the three ways scientists portray light. Along with his written explanations are diagrams and pictures to further shed some light on what can at times seem to be an opaque concept. Like the author’s other Science 101 articles, elementary teachers having difficulty making light of this concept, will find the information informative, humorous, and worth the time it takes to read the article.

Carolyn Mohr  (Buffalo Grove, IL)
Carolyn Mohr (Buffalo Grove, IL)

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