Harmonic oscillator Friday

Let’s close out the week with some physics…and a fun, hypnotizing video.

Ordinarily, metronomes remind me of boring, interminable piano lessons (which were all the more painful because I hardly ever practiced). Today, they illustrate how harmonic oscillation works.

If you place two, or in this case, 32 metronomes on a solid, stable surface and start them ticking at different times, they’ll just go right on swinging at their own pace. But if you put them on a movable surface, something else happens…


What happens is the metronomes “talk” to each other through the energy radiated into the board by the ticking. Adam Micolich is a physics professor at the University of New South Wales, and explains how this works.

Just a little physics tidbit to impress your friends over the weekend. Or not.

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