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Physics

September 9, 2011

So it appears that just about everything I was taught in my grammar school physics classes was wrong. I was scanning the news online and came across this little article about architectural design failures. I figured the first one would be that bridge in Washington which collapsed due to “forced resonance” from the frequency of the wind. Remember that? We all learned about it. Here’s the video:

Except that’s not the actual physics behind the collapse. This is (pdf):

It's self-excitation ("negative damping"), stupid.

This reminds me of when, about a decade ago, I learned of the actual physics behind the wing (pdf). It’s not what you were taught in grammar school. I can hear my physicist friends snickering at me as they read this.

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