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Coupled Oscillators

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Published on Sep 21, 2012

Two pendulums of equal length and connected by a soft spring, comprise a 2-degree-of-freedom system, with two natural modes of vibration. However, a special set of initial conditions (one mass released from rest at its equilibrium position while the other mass released from a displaced position) results in a coupled motion in which energy and amplitude are traded back and forth between the two pendulums.

Soundtrack is an excerpt from a 1974 recording of a live performance of "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" by jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins and his 5tet with a special solo by jazz bagpiper, Rufus Harley.

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