This podcast is part of the series: Einstein Demonstrations
McWane Science Center
The message is the dual nature of light. When a gaseous element is raised to a high temperature, the atoms emit radiation having discreet wavelengths. The set of wavelengths for a given element is called its atomic spectrum. Einstein showed us that light can be described not only as a wave, like a water wave, but also as a particle. This understanding of light allowed us to understand why different elements have different fingerprint patterns of light known as spectra.