Oct 18, 2013

The sandwich theory of light

This morning in the car, my daughter asked me how rainbows are made.  I was driving, could not draw anything for her and had no access to the Interweb, so I winged an answer.  I told her about the need for sunlight and water droplets and the right angles.  Then I groped for the way to explain refraction.  What I ended up telling her was that sunlight is normally like a sandwich.  You know, bread, mustard, fake turkey, lettuce hummus, pickles, etc...whatever you want on it.  Then when the sunlight hits the water droplets it is like throwing the sandwich against a wall.  The parts of the sandwich fly out in slightly different directions.

She liked the answer, and I think she understands that sunlight is not really a sandwich.

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