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17
votes
8answers
3k views

Why are sine/cosine always used to describe oscillations?

What I am really asking is are there other functions that, like $\sin()$ and $\cos()$ are bounded from above and below, and periodic? If there are, why are they never used to describe oscillations in ...
13
votes
4answers
4k views

Why doesn't a tied balloon behave like a pendulum?

It is well known that a tied weight will oscilate under the effect of gravity if left from aside, like a pendulum. However, if we tie a helium balloon to the ground from and left it form the floor ...
12
votes
2answers
647 views

Small oscillations of heavy string

I'm solving problem in classical field theory and I have some difficulties. I'm trying to study small oscilations of heavy string with fixed points. First of all I wrote down this Lagrangian: ...
11
votes
1answer
2k views

Does a guitar sound different in zero (or micro) gravity?

Seeing a video of astronaut Chris Hadfield playing a guitar on the International Space Station made me wonder if a guitar or other stringed instrument played in zero-G would sound any different than ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the period of a physical pendulum without using small-angle approximation?

What is the expression for the period of a physical pendulum without the $\sin\theta\approx\theta$ approximation? i.e. a pendulum described by this equation: $$ mgd\sin(\theta)=-I\ddot\theta $$ ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Quantum shot-noise and the fluctuation dissipation theorem

Classically, shot noise observed in the signal generated by a laser incident on a photodiode is explained as being due to the quantization of light into photons, giving rise to a Poisson process. In ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Will a violin string keep vibrating for a longer time in vacuum than in air?

Hitting a string of a violin or a guitar will cause that string to vibrate, but after short time the amplitude of the vibration will decay, consequently the produced sound will die out. I suppose ...
8
votes
2answers
4k views

What creates the chaotic motion on a double pendulum?

As we know, The double pendulum has a chaotic motion. But, why is this? I mean, the mass of the two pendulums are the same and they have the same length. But, what makes its motion random? I'm just ...
8
votes
3answers
15k views

Does the human body have a resonant frequency? If so, how strong is it?

Inspired by this question on Music beta SE, I'm wondering if the human body has a strong resonant frequency. I guess the fact that it's largely a bag of jelly would add a lot of damping to the system, ...
8
votes
2answers
349 views

Are there any fully analytically solvable nonlinear oscillators?

I'm trying to find a simple one-dimensional problem, in which a particle would oscillate with some energy, and the period of oscillation would depend on particle energy (unlike in harmonic ...
8
votes
1answer
242 views

Caldeira-Leggett Dissipation: frequency shift due to bath coupling

I am trying to understand the Caldeira-Leggett model. It considers the Lagrangian $$L = \frac{1}{2} \left(\dot{Q}^2 - \left(\Omega^2-\Delta \Omega^2\right)Q^2\right) - Q \sum_{i} f_iq_i + ...
6
votes
2answers
581 views

Is the usually taught solution to forced harmonic motion just a special solution?

Let's say we have a mass on a spring being driven by a forcing function. Given hook's law, $F = -kx$, and a forcing function of $$F(t) = F_0\sin(\omega t) .$$ We can write: $$ m\frac{d^2x}{dt^2} = ...
6
votes
1answer
12k views

How do I solve for the phase constant given the amplitude and the angular frequency?

A piston (with mass M) in a car engine is in vertical simple harmonic motion with amplitude A. The engine is running at a period T. Suppose a small piece of metal with mass m were to break ...
6
votes
2answers
459 views

Conservation of energy in a non-linear oscillator

I have a homework question about a "non-linear oscillator". I actually have an answer to this question, but the answer I get is stronger than what is needed according to the question. The question ...
5
votes
3answers
972 views

What is a mode?

Admittedly, this seems like a very simple question. The word mode pops up in every field of physics, yet I can't remember ever having read what I felt was a precise and sensible definition. After ...
5
votes
1answer
181 views

Why is the wave equation so pervasive?

The homogenous wave equation can be expressed in covariant form as $$ \Box^2 \varphi = 0 $$ where $\Box^2$ is the D'Alembert operator and $\varphi$ is some physical field. The acoustic wave ...
5
votes
1answer
436 views

How do you define the resonance frequency of a forced damped oscillator?

Consider a forced, damped harmonic oscillator $$\ddot{\phi} + 2\beta \dot{\phi} + \omega_0^2 \phi = j(t) \, .$$ If I pick a sinusoidal driving force $j(t) = A \cos(\Omega t)$, I find $$\phi(t) = ...
5
votes
2answers
168 views

What is a full cycle in damped oscillation?

Maybe it seems a dumb question, but I can't understand what the cycle in a damped oscillation is? Let's take an example: In harmonic motion, one cycle is the smallest distinguishable part of wave ...
5
votes
2answers
114 views

Is it possible to find a “replacement pendulum” for a system of two equal but perpendicular pendulums?

I ask this question, because at the end of this long day I'm just too dazed to derive the proofs myself (even though I know that I should feel ashamed for this). So, the question: Given two ...
5
votes
2answers
199 views

Approximations in simple pendulum

In the approximation $$-(g/ \ell) \sin \theta \approx -(g/ \ell) \theta $$ we make an error $R$ which is $O(\theta ^3)$. If i did well my calculations it is estimated by $$R\leq|(g / ...
4
votes
3answers
340 views

Non-SHM oscillatory motion

How to solve these kind of questions , where $|F| \propto x^2$? How to find time period and velocity type related things to the oscillatory motion? ...
4
votes
2answers
6k views

What's a good textbook to learn about waves and oscillations?

I'm taking a course on waves and oscillations using Crawford from the Berkeley series (out of print excluding international copies), and would like to know if anyone has any suggestions for a better ...
4
votes
2answers
621 views

Reflected and refracted light have same frequency as that of the incident light frequency. Why?

My text book says- When a monochromatic light is incident on a surface separating two media, the refracted and reflected light both have the same frequency as the incident frequency. Can anyone ...
4
votes
2answers
297 views

Synchronization phenomenon: A simple explanation?

Being from a mathematical background, physicists' intuitive arguments always seemed challenging for me to follow. I am currently reading a book called "Synchronization: A Universal Concept in ...
4
votes
3answers
165 views

What is the meaning of $U''(x)=0$?

Most potentials with a minimum can be described approximately as a harmonic oscillator. So the procedure is to Taylor expand $U(x)$: $$U(x)=U(0)+U'(0)x+\frac{1}{2}U''(0)x^2 +...$$ If we suppose ...
4
votes
2answers
206 views

Definition of quantum anharmonicity

I have been reading research papers in mathematical physics for some months now, and I've seen the the term "anharmonic oscillator" quite frequently. At first I assumed that given a Schrodinger ...
4
votes
1answer
81 views

Neutrino flavor eigenstate interaction with matter

We know that neutrino eigenstates are not mass eigenstate and this therefore produces neutrino oscillations. This is, however, deduced from the fact that the neutrino of one flavor produces the ...
4
votes
0answers
200 views

Relation of the Bloch-Siegert shift to the rotating pot lid

I see in Wikipedia that the Bloch-Siegert shift is analogies to the rotating pot lid, could you explain that analogy? The Bloch-Siegert shift is a phenomenon in quantum physics that becomes ...
3
votes
2answers
9k views

Phase difference of driving frequency and oscillating frequency

If a mass is attached to a spring and is oscillating (SHM). If a driving force is applied it must be at the same frequency as the mass's oscillation frequency. However I'm told that the phase ...
3
votes
2answers
248 views

Linearized equations

What is $V_{\alpha\beta}$? And what is a symmetric, positive definite potential energy matrix? And why is there a linearized equation like this?
3
votes
5answers
99 views

A conceptual doubt regarding Forced Oscillations and Resonance

While studying about the Resonance and Forced Oscillations, I came across a graph in my textbook that is given below:- Now, the author writes As the amount of damping increases, the peak shifts ...
3
votes
3answers
113 views

How can $F_0\cos\omega t$ change to $F_0e^{i\omega t}$ in driven oscillator equation?

I have one thing that confuses me on deriving the solution for the Linear Forced Oscillator. Suppose we have the equation as $$ma + rv + kx = F_0 \cos \omega t$$ What confuses me is when the driving ...
3
votes
3answers
151 views

What is the time period of an oscillator with varying spring constant?

It is well known that the time period of a harmonic oscillator when mass $m$ and spring constant $k$ are constant is $T=2\pi\sqrt{m/k}$. However, I would be interested to know what the time period ...
3
votes
1answer
161 views

What is the physical interpretation of the linear coefficient in this ODE for projectile motion?

For the second order ODE governing the position of a projectile subject to air resistance $$ m\frac{d^2x}{dt^2} +k\frac{dx}{dt}+mg=0 \quad k>0, \> x(0)=0, \> x'(0)=V>0 $$ a ...
3
votes
2answers
433 views

Probability of position in linear shm?

The problem that got me thinking goes like this:- Find $dp/dx$ where $p$ is the probability of finding a body at a random instant of time undergoing linear shm according to $x=a\sin(\omega t)$. ...
3
votes
1answer
193 views

Why don't we use quater-circular dees instead of semi-circular dees in a Cyclotron

This is the setup, I have in my mind: O1, O2, O3 and O4 are 4 oscillators. The arrows in between the Dees represent the alternating EMF the Oscillators will generate. I think we can easily adjust ...
3
votes
2answers
224 views

“Inverted” quantum oscillator

I'm trying to understand the problem of the "inverted" oscillator, which has the following Hamiltonian: $$ \hat{H}=\frac{\hat{p}^{2}}{2m}-\frac{k\hat{x}^{2}}{2} $$ Suppose that a particle at the ...
3
votes
1answer
669 views

Simple pendulum period in three different cases

Imagine you have a simple pendulum hanging on the ceiling of a train which has a period called T. How will the period be in the following cases: When the train is in circular motion in a curve of ...
3
votes
1answer
704 views

Numerical computation of the Rayleigh-Lamb curves

The Rayleigh-Lamb equations: $$\frac{\tan (pd)}{\tan (qd)}=-\left[\frac{4k^2pq}{\left(k^2-q^2\right)^2}\right]^{\pm 1}$$ (two equations, one with the +1 exponent and the other with the -1 exponent) ...
3
votes
1answer
44 views

What is the source of the discrepancy in my period-amplitude graph?

I was taught at school that the formula for period of a pendulum is $T=2\pi \sqrt{\frac{l}{g}}$ Later I found out that this is only an approximation valid for small angles and the accuracy of this ...
3
votes
1answer
383 views

The universality of the Stuart-Landau equation to describe nonlinear oscillators

I have read numerous papers which boldly suggest that the Stuart-Landau equation can be successfully used to model any weakly nonlinear oscillating system near a Hopf bifurcation. Even thought it has ...
3
votes
2answers
540 views

Harmonic Oscillator driven by a Dirac delta-like force

Consider that there is no damping for simplicity. As we know, a driving force of the form $\sin(\omega t)$ will make the oscillator at steady state vibrates at the external frequency $\omega$. What ...
3
votes
2answers
131 views

How can I find the amplitude?

Prove that the motion of a mass $m$ on a linear spring with constant $k$, has the form $$y (t) = A \sin(wt+f),$$ where $t$ is the time and $A, w, f$ are constants. We know that for $t = 0, y(0)=y_{0}$ ...
3
votes
1answer
59 views

Polarisation by Reflection - oscillation direction

I'm currently studying polarisation by reflection, and have come across two pieces of information from the same source, which I can't seem to understand on how they differ. The oscillation direction ...
3
votes
1answer
317 views

Is using a swing an example of normal or of parametric resonance?

Parametric resonance is a situation where the driving frequency is a multiple of the eigenfrequency. Various people say that using a swing and propelling it oneself is such a case, with the driving ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Oscillation of a rolling sphere in a bowl [closed]

This is a homework task. I already came to a result but I am very unsure. The task: In a bowl with the shape of a semi-circle ($R$ = 0.5m) a sphere (there is no specification for the size of the ...
3
votes
0answers
2k views

Energy Levels of 3D Isotropic Harmonic Oscillator (Nuclear Shell Model)

One simple way of detailing the very basic structure of the nuclear shell model involves placing the nucleons in a 3D isotropic oscillator. It's easy to show that the energy eigenvalues are $E = ...
2
votes
2answers
172 views

What happens to the position function when an oscillator is overdamped and does not have angular frequency?

My question is simple: What happens to the behavior of the position function, $x(t)$, when an oscillator is overdamped and $\omega$ does not exist? Here's the background on why I'm confused: For an ...
2
votes
1answer
87 views

What is the exact relation between a real oscillating body's time period with time?

I took an empty bottle and placed it on the floor, then tilted the bottle to one side such that the the displacement caused a disturbance in its balance but not enough to completely tilt it over. The ...
2
votes
1answer
122 views

Neutrino mass and energy question

If a neutrino has mass then it travels less than the speed of light. Suppose I boost myself to the rest frame; i.e. bring it to rest in the laboratory. Now if it oscillates between different states ...