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# Wave Phenomena

Physics 15c
Lecture 1
Waves
Harmonic Oscillator

If you did not fill in the survey form last time, please do so

## The forms are in the back of the hall

Online sectioning is on
Go to https://www.section.fas.harvard.edu/
Both discussion sections and lab sections
If the time slots do not work out for you, please send me email and

## Talk to me if you havent taken E&M (15b/153)

Todays Goals
Introduce the course topic: Waves

## Lots of recap today

Simple harmonic oscillators from 15a and 15b
Complex exponential, Taylor expansion
Make sure we all know the basics

## Analyze simple harmonic oscillator using complex exp

How do we interpret the complex solutions for a physical system?
Are they general and complete?

## Just how common are harmonic oscillators?

Very Physics is filled with them
But why?

## What we study in this course

There are waves everywhere
Sea waves
Sound
Earthquakes
Light
Microwave
Human waves

## The Great Waves off Kanagawa, Katsushika Hokusai, 1832

Features of waves
Oscillation at each space point

## Something (medium) is moving back and force

Air, water, earth, electromagnetic field, people

Propagation of oscillation

## Motion of one point causes the next point to move

How does oscillation propagate over distance?
What determines the propagation speed?

## We study the general properties of waves focusing on the

common underlying physics

## Waves and Modern Physics

Modern (= 20th century) Physics has two pillars:
Relativity was inspired by the absoluteness of the speed of light =
electromagnetic waves
Quantum Mechanics was inspired by the wave-like and particle-like
behaviors of light

## Goal of This Course

Understand basic nature of wave phenomena

## Intuitive picture of how waves work

How things oscillate. How the oscillation propagates
How do waves transmit energy?
Why are waves so ubiquitous?

## Foundation for more advanced subjects

Familiarity with wave equations
and Fourier transformation

current

## Already familiar with them,

arent we?

Spring-Mass System
Mass m is placed on a friction-free floor

## Spring pulls/pushes m with force

F = kx

(Hookes law)

Newtons law

d 2x
F = ma = m 2
dt
We find the equation of motion:
d 2x
m 2 = kx
dt

## We must solve this differential equation

for a given set of initial conditions

F
-x
F
x

Equation of Motion
We know that the solution will look like a sine wave
Try x = x cos t
0

## Equation of motion becomes

d
m 2 (x0 cos t) = kx0 cos t
dt
mx0 2 cos t = kx0 cos t

k
=
m

## Lets remind ourselves how this solution looks like:

How the position and the velocity change with time
What is the frequency/period of the oscillation
How the energy is (or is not) conserved

## Position, Velocity, Acceleration

x = x0 cos t
dx
= x0 sin t
dt
dv
a=
= x0 2 cos t = 2 x
dt

x0

x = x(t)

v=

## Oscillation repeats itself at

t = 2
Position and velocity are offphase by 90 degrees
Position and acceleration are
off-phase by 180 degrees

x0
x0

v = v(t)

x0
x0 2

a = a(t)

t
x0 2

## Frequency and Period

in cost is the natural angular frequency of this oscillator
How much the phase of the cosine advances per unit time

2
m
2 = T

T=
= 2

k
=
m

## The frequency (Greek nu) [cycle/sec] is given by

1
1
= =
=
T 2 2

k
m

a.k.a. Hertz

Energy
Spring stores energy when stretched/compressed:
1 2 1 2
ES = kx = kx0 cos2 t
2
2
Moving mass has kinetic energy:
1
1
2
EK = mv = mx02 2 sin2 t
2
2
1 2 2
= kx0 sin t
Remember 2 = k/m
2
Therefore
1 2
ES + EK = kx0 = constant.
2

Energy Tossing
1 2
ES = kx0 cos2 t
2
1 2 2
EK = kx0 sin t
2

Energy moves
between the spring
and the mass,
keeping the total
constant

1 2
kx
2 0

ES
1 2
kx
2 0

EK
1 2
kx
2 0

ES
EK

Complex exponential
We know both cost and sint are solutions

## x(t) = a cos t + b sin t

for arbitrary values of a and b

## Next four slides are reminders on complex numbers

Complex Numbers
I assume you are familiar with complex numbers

## A few reminders to make sure we got the key concepts

Complex plane
Real part
Imaginary part

Complex conjugate

## Absolute Value and Argument

For a complex number z,

z = a2 + b2

## The angle is the argument, or phase:

= arg(z)
z may be expressed as:

z = z (cos + i sin ) = z e i
using Eulers identity

e i = cos + i sin

Eulers Identity
e i = cos + i sin
This is a natural extension of the real exponential

## Check this with Taylor expansion

1 2 1 3 1 4
1 5
e = 1+ x + x + x +
x +
x + ...
2
6
24
120
1 2 i 3 1 4
i
ix
e = 1+ ix x x +
x +
x 5 + ...
2
6
24
120
x

1 2 1 4
cos(x) = 1 x +
x ...
2
24

1 3
1 5
sin(x) = x x +
x ...
6
120

Complex Plane
ei goes around the unit circle on the complex plane.
Im

e i = cos + i sin

Re

http://xkcd.com/179/

Complex Solutions
d 2x
Revisit the simple harmonic oscillator: 2 = 2 x
Xt
dt
Substitute x = e

d 2e Xt
2 Xt
2 Xt
=
X
e
=

e
2
dt

X 2 = 2

X = i

## We got two complex solutions to a harmonic oscillator

x(t) = e i t
They are complex conjugates of each other
Generally, if you have a complex solution z(t) for an equation of
motion, the complex conjugate z*(t) must also be a solution

d 2 z(t)
2
=

z(t)
2
dt

d 2 z*(t)
2
=

z*(t)
2
dt

## Complex Real Solutions

Since the equation of motion is linear, any linear
combination of z(t) and z*(t) is also a solution, i.e.,
x(t) = z(t) + z (t) where , are complex constants

Im(x(t)) =
=

2i
2i
( )z(t) ( )z (t)
=
= Im ( )z(t) = 0
2i

Therefore

## Ignoring the factor 2, this is the real part of { arbitrary complex

number times one of the solutions z(t) }

## Complex Real Solutions

Generally, when z(t) and z*(t) are complex solutions of an
equation of motion, real (=physical) solutions are found by
taking the real part of z(t), where is an arbitrary
complex constant
Going back to the harmonic oscillator:

## x(t) = Re (a ib)e i t = Re (a ib)(cos t + i sin t)

= a cos t + b sin t

## Ubiquity of Harmonic Oscillators

Harmonic oscillators equation of motion:
d 2x
m 2 = kx
Hookes Law force
dt
The restoring force kx is linear with x
This is not exactly true in most cases
Springs do not follow Hookes law beyond elastic limits

## And for a good reason

Pendulum
A pendulum swings because of the combined
force of the gravity mg and the string tension T
Combined force is mg sin
Displacement from the equilibrium is L
Force is not linear with displacement

## A pendulum is not a harmonic oscillator

Taylor-expand F = mg sin around = 0
sin = sin 0 + (sin ) =0 + 21 (sin )=0 2 +

mg sin
mg

1
= 61 3 + 120
5 +

## For small angle ,

( ) = mL = mg + O(

d 2 L
dt

Almost linear

Taylor Expansion
Any (smooth) function f(x) can be approximated around a
given point x = a as:
1
1 n
2
f (x) f (a) + f (a)(x a) + f (a)(x a) + + f (a)(x a)n +
2
n!

## Because the higher-order terms (x a)n shrinks faster

Potential Energy
Look at the same problem with the potential energy
At angle , the mass m is higher than
the lowest position by h = L(1 cos)
The potential energy is
EP = mgh = mgL(1 cos)

Taylor-expand EP around = 0

cos = 1 21 2 +

## Differentiating the energy by displacement

gives you the force

1 d 1
2
F=
=
mgL = mg

dx
L d 2

dEP

1
24

h
x

## Linearizing Equation of Motion

We can often linearize the equation of motion for small
oscillation around a stable point (equilibrium)

Why?
Anything that is stable is at a minimum
of the potential energy E
Lets call it x = 0
Taylor expansion of E near x = 0 is

1
1
2
E(x) = E(0) + E (0)x + E (0)x + E (0)x 3 + ...
2
6

## Since x = 0 is a local minimum, E(0) = 0 and E(0) > 0

For small oscillations, higher-order terms (x3, x4, ) can be ignored

1
E(x) E(0) + E (0)x 2
2

A simple parabola

## This gives a linear force

dE
F=
E (0)x
dx
Every physically stable object can
make harmonic oscillation
Stable object sits where the potential energy
is minimum
The potential near the minimum looks like a
parabola
Its derivative gives a linear restoring force

E(x) E(0) +

1
E (0)x 2
2

## This is true for small oscillation

How small depend on how the potential looks like
We observe oscillation only when small is large enough

Summary
Analyzed a simple harmonic oscillator

d 2 x(t)
= kx(t)
The equation of motion: m
2
dt

## Frequency, period, energy conservation

k
x(t) = a cos t + b sin t where =
m
Studied the solution

## Studied how the equation of motion can be linearized for

small oscillations