Welcome to the Winter Physics of Sound page for Music, Math, and Motion

MMM Physics of Sound will meet Fridays from 1:00 - 5:00 in the CAL (Lab II first floor)

Homework help sessions will be held Thursdays from 3:00 - 5:00 in the CAL. (If nobody shows up before 4:00, the help session will end early.) This can also be a time for us to do advanced (calculus-based) work, if there is interest.

Support in basic math skills is also available at the QUASR, the peer-learning math center in the library.

In fall quarter we learned the basics of waves and the physics of sound, with a focus on hands-on workshop with a little math.

Now in winter quarter we will dig deeper into the same material, with goals of:

  • deeper understanding of the waves and physics of sound, qualitatively (via discussion more than math)
  • strengthening and developing quantitative skills by using more math and solving problems from our textbook
  • integrating deeper qualitative understanding with stronger quantitative skills for a good thorough grasp of key issues in physics of music.

To this end, we will work methodically through the two key chapters of Giancoli's physics that we read last quarter, Ch.11 (Vibrations and Waves) and Ch.12 (Sounds), using

  • lecture and discussion
  • seminar and jigsaw learning
  • working math-based problems together
  • hands-on workshops

Students will also be invited to bring relevant articles or issues to class for discussion.

Our tentative syllabus for winter quarter can be flexible, depending on faculty and student inspiration and needs.

Giancoli reading
wk.1: Tues.6.Jan. Introduction and logistics
wk.2: 15-16 Jan. Ch.11: 1, 2, 3, 5 (Simple Harmonic Motion)
wk.3: 22-23 Jan. Ch.11: 6, 7, 8, 9 (Resonance, Waves, Energy)
wk.4: 29-30 Jan. Ch.11: 9, 10, 12, 13 (Intensity, Superposition, Standing waves)
wk 5: 5-6 Feb. (no physics classes) Midquarter Conferences, possible Midterm
wk.6: 9-13 Feb. Ch.12: 1, 2, 3 (sound, decibels, loudness)
wk.7: 19-20 Feb. Ch.12: 4, 5, 6 (Sources of sound - strings and air, Superposition Beats)
wk.8: 26-27 Feb. Ch.12: 7, 8, 9 (Doppler effect, shock waves, sonic boom, applications)
wk.9: 5-6 Mar. Summary
wk.10: 9-13 Mar. presentations, performances, possible final
wk.11: 17-20 Mar. evaluation conferences