After Springs, Waves

On Monday I started a series of articles to explain particles and fields, aimed at those who’ve had a little bit of physics in their past (perhaps a semester or two just before or just at the beginning level at a university), and containing a very little amount of math.

I first brought you the story of the ball on a spring, both the classical [i.e. pre-quantum] version from the 1700s and the quantum version from the early 1900s.

Now it’s time to turn to waves. This is the longest subject I’ll have to cover, I think, so I split even the pre-quantum story of waves up into two parts, one aimed at getting the right formula for describing a wave, and the other at getting the right equation of motion for which that formula is a solution. If you’ve had first-year physics you’ve seen most of this, but there’s a twist toward the very end that is probably novel — you’ll see a wave equation you’ll probably recognize, but also one that, quite possibly, you haven’t seen before.

One response to “After Springs, Waves

  1. The links to the articles are not obvious in your post