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ERIC Number: EJ996079
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Sep
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 12
ISSN: ISSN-0143-0807
Electromagnetic Waves in a Uniform Gravitational Field and Planck's Postulate
Acedo, Luis; Tung, Michael M.
European Journal of Physics, v33 n5 p1073-1082 Sep 2012
The gravitational redshift forms the central part of the majority of the classical tests for the general theory of relativity. It could be successfully checked even in laboratory experiments on the earth's surface. The standard derivation of this effect is based on the distortion of the local structure of spacetime induced by large masses. The resulting gravitational time dilation near these masses gives rise to a frequency change of any periodic process, including electromagnetic oscillations as the wave propagates across the gravitational field. This phenomenon can be tackled with classical electrodynamics assuming a curved spacetime background and Maxwell's equations in a generally covariant form. In this paper, we show that in a classical field theoretical context the gravitational redshift can be interpreted as the propagation of electromagnetic waves in a medium with corresponding conductivity [sigma] = g/([mu][subscript 0]c[cube]), where "g" is the gravitational acceleration and [mu][subscript 0] is the vacuum magnetic permeability. Moreover, the energy density of the wave remains proportional to its frequency in agreement with Planck's postulate. (Contains 2 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A