electromagnetic radiation

noun Physics.
radiation consisting of electromagnetic waves, including radio waves, infrared, visible light, ultraviolet, x-rays, and gamma rays.

Origin:
1950–55

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World English Dictionary
electromagnetic radiation
 
n
See also photon radiation consisting of self-sustaining oscillating electric and magnetic fields at right angles to each other and to the direction of propagation. It does not require a supporting medium and travels through empty space at the speed of light

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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

electromagnetic radiation e·lec·tro·mag·net·ic radiation (ĭ-lěk'trō-māg-nět'ĭk)
n.
Radiation originating in a varying electromagnetic field, such as visible light, radio waves, x-rays, and gamma rays.

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Science Dictionary
electromagnetic radiation  
Energy in the form of transverse magnetic and electric waves. In a vacuum, these waves travel at the speed of light (which is itself a form of electromagnetic radiation). The acceleration of electric charges (such as alternating current in a radio transmitter) gives rise to electromagnetic radiation. Other common examples of electromagnetic radiation are x-rays, microwaves, and radio waves. A single unit, or quantum, of electromagnetic radiation is called a photon. See also electromagnetism, polarization.

Our Living Language  : In the nineteenth century, physicists discovered that a changing electric field creates a magnetic field and vice versa. Thus a variation in an electric field (for example, the changing field created when a charged particle such as an electron moves up and down) will generate a magnetic field, which in turn induces an electric field. Equations formulated by James Clerk Maxwell predicted that these fields could potentially reinforce each other, creating an electromagnetic ripple that propagates through space. In fact, visible light and all other forms of electromagnetic radiation consist exactly of such waves of mutually reinforcing electric and magnetic fields, traveling at the speed of light. The frequency of the radiation determines how it interacts with charged particles, especially with the electrons of atoms, which absorb and reemit the radiation. The energy of the electromagnetic radiation is proportional to its frequency: the greater the frequency of the waves, the greater their energy. Electromagnetic radiation can also be conceived of as streams of particles known as photons. The photon is the quantum (the smallest possible unit) of electromagnetic radiation. In quantum mechanics, all phenomena in which charged particles interact with one another, as in the binding of protons and electrons in an atom or the formation of chemical bonds between atoms in a molecule, can be understood as an exchange of photons by the charged particles.

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Cultural Dictionary

electromagnetic radiation definition


Any type of electromagnetic wave.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
It makes me a much happier particle of electromagnetic radiation.
X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation, as is light.
Every day, our eyes are bombarded with the sun's electromagnetic radiation.
As a bonus, they can be expected to give off a reasonably plaintive yelp of
  electromagnetic radiation as they do so.
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