|Topics||Curved Lenses, Curved Mirrors, Light Waves, Refractive Index|
Unlike curved mirrors that operate on the principle of reflection, lenses utilize refraction. A convex lens is thicker in the middle than on the edges and converges light while a concave lens is thicker on the edges than in the middle and diffuses light. A common use for curved lenses is in eye glasses where a convex lens is used to correct farsightedness and a concave lens is used to correct nearsightedness.
A concave (or converging) mirror bulges inward and focuses reflected light on the mirror's focal point where the mirror's angles of incidence converge. In contrast, a convex (or diverging) mirror bulges outward and diffuses the light waves that strike it. A common use of a concave mirror is in a reflecting telescope, a common use of a convex mirror is in the side view mirror of a car.
Unlike mechanical sound waves that require a physical medium for propagation, light waves are electromagnetic and can travel through empty space. Light waves are also much faster, travelling at 186,000 m/s vs. 343 m/s for sound waves.
The speed of light varies based on the material that the waves are passing through. The refractive index of a material indicates how easily light travels through it compared to how easily light travels through a vacuum. For example, the refractive index of water is 1.33, meaning that light travels 1.33 times faster in a vacuum than it does in water.