Thursday, November 04, 2004

Pythagoras Could be Called the First Known String Theorist

Pythagoras could be called the first known string theorist. Pythagoras, an excellent lyre player, figured out the first known string physics -- the harmonic relationship. Pythagoras realized that vibrating Lyre strings of equal tensions but different lengths would produce harmonious notes (i.e. middle C and high C) if the ratio of the lengths of the two strings were a whole number. Pythagoras discovered this by looking and listening. Today that information is more precisely encoded into mathematics, namely the wave equation for a string with a tension T and a mass per unit length m. If the string is described in coordinates as in the drawing below, where x is the distance along the string and y is the height of the string, as the string oscillates in time,

1 comment:

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