The physics of resonance

You’re on top of the world. A job well done, certainly with some room for improvement, but you have no doubt that you will do even better next time. You’ve discovered something that you feel right doing, something that lights the fire within, something that resonates with you.You’ve spent time preparing, you’ve executed your plan, and you can’t wait to go back to the drawing board, make a couple of changes, and step up to bat once again. You’re tireless, motivated, driven, inspired. You’re humming with energy.

As a science lover I can’t help but see the similarities between this galvanized person, and a ringing bell. Both have been struck by some stimulus, and both are emitting a rather predictable response. Both are vibrating at their natural, or resonant frequencies.

Resonance is a common concept in physics, responsible for shattering crystal glasses, causing bridges to sway violently, making music flow from instruments, and other phenomena observed in electric circuits, orbiting celestial objects, and magnetic fields. Any vibrating or oscillating system has the tendency to vibrate at a very specific rate, it’s resonant frequency, that is dependent on a number of physical parameters. This frequency is incredibly easy to trigger, as the driving force is stored as vibrational energy within the system. With prolonged exposure to an appropriate stimulus, the energy reinforces the existing vibration, and the amplitude of the vibration grows. This might mean more energy and joy for an inspired person and a louder ringing of a bell, though in some systems this ever growing amplitude can have catastrophic results, as in the case of the shattered crystal or a collapsed bridge. As in most endeavors, a bit of moderation is probably a good idea!

What resonates with you??

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