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Monday, November 26, 2007
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
CNLS Conference Room (TA-3, Bldg 1690)


Of Metronomes and Pendulum Clocks and Fiber Lasers

Kurt Wiesenfeld
Georgia Institute of Technology

Some 342 years ago (give or take) Chritiaan Huygens observed that two pendulum clocks consistently synchronized their oscillations with the pendulums locked in antiphase motion. The interaction was provided by the small motion of a common support on which the clocks were mounted. In contrast, a simple classroom demonstration using metronomes in place of pendulum clocks -- with the same support-coupling mechanism -- yields stable inphase synchronization. I'll explore (and explain) the reasons behind this difference. I'll also describe a surprising link with the problem of generating coherent radiation from fiber laser arrays. Contact David Roberts if you wish to meet with the speaker.

Host: David Roberts/T-CNLS