# Re: Waves and Energy

On Sun, 23 Feb 1997, Ed Schweber wrote:
> David Abineri wrote:
> >
> > I wonder if I can get help on this question from a high school class.
> >
> > If two electromagnetic waves interfere destructively, what happens to the
> > energy associated with the waves. I am guessing that on the large scale,
> > in a double slit experiment that additional energy shows up at the points
> > of constructive interference that compensates for the loss at the nodes.
That's a correct interpretation. The interference does not cause any
reduction in the total energy in the combined field.
> > But, what about looking as just the waves that are meeting at a node?
Remember that the waves are a mathematical abstraction to describe what we
can measure, in particular, they relate to the probability of finding a
photon at a particular place in space and time. We don't think of the
waves as somehow 'colliding' with each other.
Ed Schweiber's longer answer put it very well.
-- Donald
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Dr. Donald E. Simanek Office: 717-893-2079
Prof. of Physics Internet: dsimanek@eagle.lhup.edu
Lock Haven University, Lock Haven, PA. 17745 CIS: 73147,2166
Home page: http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek FAX: 717-893-2047
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