Resonance experiment

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An evening pause: While I am sure there are engineers out there who can explain how the interaction of the vibrator with the plate causes the patterns, I look at this from my more philosophical side, and note how this experiment reveals very simply how the universe is filled with hidden wonders and patterns that challenge us as humans to uncover.

Hat tip Tom Wilson.



  • wayne

    Very (extremely) cool.

  • t-dub

    Thanks Wayne. It’s things like this and Mandelbrot Set Zooms that that make me feel like I am getting a glimpse behind the curtain of the universe.

  • wayne

    –it’s an amazing direct visual way to experience matter & energy interacting. On a psychological level– it’s very “hypnotic” in a way that directly hits on your brain’s patter-recognition abilities.

    If you enjoy Mandelbrot Set’s & similar, suggest you check out:
    “Butterflies, Chaos and Fractals”
    Prof Raymond Flood- Gresham College
    –Starts from the “3-Body Problem,” & works his way up to modern chaos theory.
    >Not as much animation/graphics/visuals as I prefer, but a nice historical view of “dynamical systems,” nonetheless.

  • Frank

    You are seeing modes of resonances in the plate much like a guitar string except the plate is two dimensional. This is is a common test with loudspeakers to see where the paper cone no longer acts like a stiff piston but instead breaks up into regions moving in different directions. The patterns are a function of material stiffness, size, and the frequency of excitation.

  • Joe

    This is cool, and very interesting, kind of reminds me of experiments in junior high school 7 th grade science and magnetic field using a bar magnet and metal shavings.

  • t-dub

    Yes Joe. And why does it have to stop at 7th grade. There is much more here.

  • PeterF

    Patterns created by resonance of a base shape? Granted, the square was created by humans and the introduction of vibrations was human induced. Suppose that random processes created a shape that had a resonance found in naturally occurring situations on another planet? Would certain people immediately attribute the non-random patterns to extraterrestrial intelligence? Phobosians perhaps? I am sure that we will see such things the more the solar system is explored. The polar pentagons in the upper atmosphere of the outer planets comes to mind.

  • Max

    I had a college professor that would do such experiments along with noise cancellation and harmonics. Levitating items with sound. It was his personal opinion that Tesla was right. Everything can be altered, modified and controlled through frequency and modulation. He would quote the Bible saying “God spoke” to make creation happen… The secret to creation is through sound. The number of God is seven. There are seven frequencies before the pattern repeats to the next octave.

    The pattern on a circular plate reminds me of crop circles. Frequencies used to cancel gravity?

    As a child I would produce patterns in a glass of water. using 2 car battery’s and paperclips to make hydrogen and oxygen bubbles appear that I could ignite with a match. I would place a magnet under the glass and was amazed to see the water starts to spin! (that’s when I first realized why low pressure systems, storms, spin in a circular fashion because of the magnetic field of the earth and the electrical charge of the storm)(The greater the pH of the storm, the faster the spin, like cyclones and hurricanes)
    The patterns would appear when using multiple magnets and Salt and pepper or a drop of food coloring.
    Bismuth is not magnetic and yet it reflects the magnetic field of the magnets that’s around it causing the patterns to shift wildly.

  • wayne

    Going slightly off-thread;

    If you want some excellent lectures, with lots-o-experiments performed in-class, check out practically anything from Prof. Walter Lewin.

    There’s an extensive collection of his lectures at YouTube. (public & classroom lectures)
    [sorta a sad, bizzaro, story attached to the Professor– few years ago he was accused of “inappropriate interaction with co-eds,” and essentially forced to retire. But, I highly recommend his videos.]

    Below is a Public lecture, and not even one of his best– but gives you a feel for his teaching methods.
    He explains the Concepts, goes over the Math, and then shows you what’s going on with a physical demonstration.

    For the Love of Physics (Walter Lewin’s Last Lecture)

  • Cotour

    When I saw this the first thing I thought was that this is a new kind of communication system.

  • wayne

    Anyone have a (“Crookes'”) Radiometer?

    [Still have mine, bought it at the gift-shop, Museum of Science & Industry, Chicago, circa 1969.
    One of my Cats was fascinated with watching it.]

    “How a Crookes radiometer works”

    Not as flashy as the resonance demonstration, but cool nonetheless!

    (tangentially political rant: When your School Board debates whether to buy more science-supplies, or fatten up their Pension Funds…. we all know what they choose, don’t we?)

  • t-dub

    Wayne – thanks for your contributions to this thread. Much appreciated . . . :-)

  • Edward

    PeterF wrote: “I am sure that we will see such things the more the solar system is explored.”

    There is a thought that the orbits of the planets are located where they are due to similar phenomenon, that gravity — specifically the gravitational interaction of matter — tended to favor certain regions around the sun for matter to congregate, and that resulted in large masses forming that swept up much of that matter into the planets. A resonance of the solar system, as it were. But then again, this would raise the question as to why Saturn has rings rather than larger or more moons.

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