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ERIC Number: EJ891976
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Mar
Pages: 3
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 2
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
The Standing Wave on a String as an Oscillator
Sobel, Michael
Physics Teacher, v45 n3 p137-139 Mar 2007
In the usual treatment of waves in introductory courses, one begins with traveling waves and the frequency/wavelength relationship f[lambda] = v, where "v" is the wave velocity. One then makes the point about superposition and shows that two waves traveling in opposite directions can add up to a standing wave; Eq. (1) still applies. This approach is problematic in two ways: (1) The motion being described, standing waves, has no apparent "velocity," and so it seems unnecessarily complex--perhaps unreasonably complex--to construct it out of moving waves; (2) It is not easy to derive the formula for the velocity of waves, especially for an audience without calculus or without multi-variate calculus (the wave equation).
American Association of Physics Teachers. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740. Tel: 301-209-3300; Fax: 301-209-0845; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A