Light, Sound and Waves

But why would you want to know about refraction?

Physics Narrative for 11-14 Supporting Physics Teaching

Using refraction

The fact that a beam of light shifts its path as it passes through a glass block may not seem to be of particular importance. You might be tempted to think: Well so what! In fact the idea of refraction can be used to explain a whole range of apparently disparate phenomena.

For example:

  • How do lenses work?
  • Why does the water in a swimming pool always appear to be shallower than it really is?
  • How can a glass prism split light up into different colours?

The answers to the first two questions are addressed in the Teaching Approaches section, while ideas about colour will be considered in episode 04.

is formalised by Law of Reflection
can be exhibited by Progressive Wave
has the special case Total Internal Reflection
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