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Pendulum Waves: Natural Rhythm balance & dissonance


OK, this isn’t run of the mill content for this blog, but I saw it via Twitter earlier (sorry I’ve lost the linky). Anyway there is something fascinating about it.

More than that there is a relevance to design, any architect will tell you that this is fundamental stuff. Any graphic designer will be aware of the rule of thirds and the Golden Ratio.

Edward Weston famously photographed shells and one of these images famously sold for an awfully high price. Whether you are mimicking or capturing nature you may well find you are optimising designs for the mind

Fifteen uncoupled simple pendulums of monotonically increasing lengths dance together to produce visual traveling waves, standing waves, beating, and (seemingly) random motion.

For more details see here

The period of one complete cycle of the dance is 60 seconds. The length of the longest pendulum has been adjusted so that it executes 51 oscillations in this 60 second period. The length of each successive shorter pendulum is carefully adjusted so that it executes one additional oscillation in this period. Thus, the 15th pendulum (shortest) undergoes 65 oscillations.

Our apparatus was built from a design published by Richard Berg [Am J Phys 59(2), 186-187 (1991)] at the University of Maryland. The particular apparatus shown here was built by our own Nils Sorensen.

I guess in this video different people will find different points more pleasing than others and in that there is a lesson. However nearly 2 million people have watched this simple video, I guess there’s a lesson or two there as well?

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