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Geplaatst op 12 november 2009 - 11:17

What the ruck?—The physics of a bump in a rug
Not one, but two papers that examine the physics of a bump in a rug have appeared in a recent issue of Physical Review Letters. They examine the mathematics that describe both the statics and dynamics of these systems and perform experiments to determine the accuracy of their math.

One of the things that drew me to science and engineering when I was younger was a desire to understand how everyday things worked. What made a clock tick, why the bubbles form on the bottom of the pot just before water boils, how to describe the shape of ocean waves. As I got further and further along in my academic career, I came to the realization that these seemingly simple physical curiosities were incredibly complex and often couldn't be described using an exact mathematical formulation.

As an example, take the motion of the pendulum in a clock. The concept of a simple pendulum is typically introduced in junior-high science or high school physics. A simple pendulum is a point mass dangled from some fixed point by a massless rigid rod that gently swings (frictionlessly) through small angles under the influence of gravity. It can be described as having a period equal to two pi times the square root of the ratio of the length of the pendulum to gravitational acceleration.

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Bron: Ars Technica

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