Introduction and Intent

This blog will be all about waves in the physical world.  We will look at musical instruments, drumhead shapes, missing neutrinos, quantum mechanics, microwave antennas, and much more.

Everything is described by waves, undulations, cycles.  This universal feature of reality ties things together, unifies our theories of physics, but also there is tremendous variety to enjoy – just ask: what is it that’s doing the waving?  It could be air, water, networks of steel beams, DNA molecules, quantum particles that barely exist, or huge swarms of stars in the spiral arms of galaxies. It could even be the Big Bang as we see it now with radio telescopes, 13.6 billion years after it happened.

The level of presentation will include math, physics and illustrations.  The intended audience will be broad, from high schoolers who love math and physics to professors and engineers.  Visitors with no scientific background at all are also welcome, and may get something out of most of these posts even if skipping over the math.  Most of the material is developed intuitively, with visuals, not theorems and proofs like in textbooks.  Abstract ideas will be illustrated with something you can look at.

On occasion there may be a post with seriously deep world-class PhD research and esoteric math, but even then I’ll aim to put in clear explanations, colorful fun diagrams and animations to entertain everyone in the lower 99.99% of intellect. Some days, I may go the opposite and write about very basic math ideas.  It’s my blog, and so I can do that.

Who am I?  I took apart mechanical and electrical toys as a kid, was fascinated by the insides of the TV when my Dad checked the vacuum tubes, read every book in the public library on electronics – both of them – and loved astronomy and math.  My first word was “light” and I have always enjoyed light and shadow, colors, shapes.  I majored in Physics at Oakland University then went into graduate studies in the same field at Indiana University.  Some companies and research organizations I’ve worked at or did some project for include NRAO, University of Central Florida, Space Science Institute, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, and Chrysler.  If I’m not doing electronics or image processing, I’m paying the rent by doing software work for scientists and engineers..

Besides physics, math and software, I also have worked in live and recorded television production, played in a church bell choir, did a bit of theatrical dance in Ann Arbor, played sax in a community band for a smaller city in New Mexico, and soon hope to begin surfing near Del Mar, Solana or Encinitas California.  All these activities involve waves, and in more than one way.

It thrills me to relate theoretical physics to everyday reality, to apply math to art and fun and nature.  I’d like to explain to you, as clearly as I can, how the math and physics of waves apply to so many things in our lives.