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Portland, OR, United States
I am finishing up my midwifery apprenticeship and plan to be a real midwife early in 2014!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

yet another genius question that my practical brain would never even think to ponder

Paul just asked:

Why is water only reflective on the surface?



Mimi said...

Um, wow. So, what's the answer?

mariagwyn said...

Because light, being a particle (or a wave) requires something off which to bounce for us to see. So, a particles of water provide a surface off of which light can bounce back at us. Smooth wather provides a more stable surface and so appears brighter, choppy water both absorbs more light particles and bounces them off at odd angles which we just don't see.

And actually, water is reflective below the surface as well, though usually it is stuff in the water that is reflecting back...bubbles (which create 'surfaces' in the water), floating gunk. All of which provides something off which light can bounce.

It is not that your practical brain doesn't ponder the issue, but that perhaps it recognizes a practical answer to what was probably not a question about science, but a mystical pondering on something beautiful. Which I think I just rendered terribly mundane.

Sorry. ;)