Electromagnetic radiation is a little-understood property of the physical universe. Despite the fact that we still know relatively little about this force, we have harnessed it in many different ways to help create the modern world in which we live.
The most familiar form of electromagnetic radiation that we all experience on a daily basis is what we call visible light. It is a strong argument in favour of the idea that there may be some truth in The Bible that the first created thing in the universe is light. Light is electromagnetic radiation of a certain bandwidth of frequencies – the spectrum of the rainbow shows us these different frequencies, from red to violet. You may also have heard of infra-red and ultra-violet, which are the first invisible frequencies you encounter on either side of the visible spectrum.
If you have a special camera, you can see infra-red, which we commonly refer to as heat. Anybody that is warmer than its surrounding environment will give off infra-red radiation. This would show up on an infra-red camera. It is strange to think that all of us are giving off a kind of light – we glow. If you have seen the film “Predator” you will be familiar with how people appear to an Infra-red sensitive camera.
Ultra-violet light, on the other hand, is only given off by certain electro-chemical reactions. The sun is a major source of ultra-violet light, in fact, it is the major source of electromagnetic radiation for the entire solar system. Most people cannot perceive any ultra-violet light at all, but certain small birds and insects do perceive ultra-violet light. Many butterflies, in fact, have patterns that are distinctly more extravagant when the ultra-violet component is taken into account. The same applies to many flowers.
Even with this wide variety of effects of electromagnetic radiation, from heat to ultra-violet, we have barely scratched the surface of what is contained within the electromagnetic spectrum. There are wavelengths that are much shorter, known as gamma rays, and those that are much, much longer, and these are referred to as radio waves. Of course, we have put both of these things to some use – microwaves are used in cooking and we all listen to the radio from time to time.
As I said, we have put the electromagnetic radiation in the Universe to a wide variety of uses – even painting your walls could be said to be a manipulation of the electromagnetic properties of your surroundings. Electromagnetic radiation is fundamental to the working of the entire universe, in some ways it is the entire universe. In Einstein’s famous equation E equals MC squared, on which much of our current model of the universe is built, E stands for the speed of light.
As I mentioned, light is given a great deal of weight by most religions as well, and this is perhaps one thing that the modern physical sciences agree on – light is extremely important! I particularly like Himalayan Salt Lamps for lighting my house, and in fact I just got my fourth one from Himalayan Salt Lamp Boutique. (You can keep up with Himalayan Salt Lamp Boutique updates on Facebook here.)
Quite funny considering light is weightless and may not be comprised of anything material at all. It’s nice to know that there are still many things we do not know. There may well still be a glittering and prosperous future ahead of all of us when the next outrageously useful property of light is discovered and harnessed.
I think everyone can agree that if we could remove the need to bill everyone for gas and electricity we would be moving in the right direction and that would be as great a leap as the invention of the light bulb.