Physics 152: Oscillations and Waves
Michael Fowler UVa
Lectures and Applets on Oscillations and Waves
Complex numbers are the key to analyzing oscillations and waves easily.
Surprisingly, the heavily damped case is the easiest mathematically, and has some interesting physics.
From ringing a bell to checking your shocks.
From picking up a cell signal to wrecking a bridge.
Kinds of waves in one dimension: transverse, longitudinal, traveling, standing.
How applying F = ma to a little piece of string leads to an equation that describes many different waves.
What happens to a wave when it reaches the end of the string?
Deriving the Wave Equation for sound waves in a pipe. Energy density and power in a sound wave in a pipe.
Extending the Wave Equation to higher dimensions.Huygens' picture of wave propagation.Young's two-slit measurement of the wavelength of light. Applet
Other Course Materials
I found in teaching this course in the past that constructing Excel spreadsheets and exploring with them proved useful in building intuition. Possibly this approach is being superseded by, say, using Python. Anyway, here are the spreadsheets.
This spreadsheet plots the motion of a damped oscillator: you can specify the initial conditions and degree of damping, and find critical damping.
An external driving force is added to the previous spreadsheet: see how damping and resonance compete.
Find out how the period of a real pendulum varies with the amplitude.