electromagnetic pulse


Definition of electromagnetic pulse

: a pulse of high-intensity electromagnetic radiation generated especially by a nuclear blast high above the earth's surface and held to disrupt electronic and electrical systems Any nuclear bomb detonated high above the atmosphere bathes the area below in a powerful electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that is likely to burn out delicate electronic chips, transistors, computers and power and communication systems. The pulse happens at the speed of light, covering an entire continent.— William Broad abbreviation EMP

Examples of electromagnetic pulse in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web An electromagnetic pulse is directed into the ground, and any objects or layering (stratigraphy) will be detectable in the reflections picked up by a receiver, just like regular radar. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "An ancient Roman city has been fully mapped using ground-penetrating radar," 14 June 2020 The aircraft are also shielded from the effects of electromagnetic pulse (EMP), a phenomenon in which stray voltage created by a nuclear explosion can short out and otherwise cause nearby electronics to malfunction and fail. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Next-Gen Air Force One Is Already Over Budget," 30 Apr. 2020 In the case of elves, the light is the result of an electromagnetic pulse produced by the lightning bolt itself. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Data from the International Space Station confirms: Lightning is insane," 10 Dec. 2019 The effects of an electromagnetic pulse were first observed in the early 1960s, when a 1.4 megaton thermonuclear bomb detonated in the mid-Pacific knocked out electronics as far away as Hawaii. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Invent Concrete That Could Stop an EMP," 15 Nov. 2016 The work tracks how energy spreads out from the site of a lightning bolt into the ionosphere via an electromagnetic pulse. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Data from the International Space Station confirms: Lightning is insane," 10 Dec. 2019 In a way, North Korea could use a nuclear blast in space as a real-life version of the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attacks employed in Ocean’s 11 and mostly relegated to fiction. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "How Would You Scrub Radiation from Space After a Nuclear Attack?," 27 Dec. 2019 Below are two of Max's Nat Geo images, of pathological specimens in Boston (left) and the application of electromagnetic pulses to a cocaine addict’s prefrontal cortex in Italy (right). Nichole Sobecki, National Geographic, "What can a photographer bring to an image?," 6 Dec. 2019 The scripts also mention scenarios of an attack on the US with an electromagnetic pulse or war with North Korea. Hanna Kozlowska, Quartz, "The new “Wolf of Wall Street” is an influencer who sells gold to Republican seniors," 18 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'electromagnetic pulse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of electromagnetic pulse

1951, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for electromagnetic pulse

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The first known use of electromagnetic pulse was in 1951

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Statistics for electromagnetic pulse

Last Updated

24 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Electromagnetic pulse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/electromagnetic%20pulse. Accessed 8 Jul. 2020.

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