Knots in the resonator: elegant math in humble physics

July 15, 2022

At the heart of every resonator — be it a cello, a gravitational wave detector, or the antenna in your cell phone — there is a beautiful bit of mathematics that has been heretofore unacknowledged.

Yale physicists Jack Harris and Nicholas Read know this because they started finding knots in their data.

In a new study in the journal Nature, Harris, Read, and their co-authors describe a previously unknown characteristic of resonators. A resonator is any object that vibrates only at a specific set of frequencies. They are ubiquitous in sensors, electronics, musical instruments, and other devices, where they are used to produce, amplify, or detect vibrations at specific frequencies.

This article is excerpted from the Yale News article of July 13, 2022 by Jim Shelton. For more information, please see the full article, and the article in Nature linked below.

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