The Wavewatcher's Companion

The Wavewatcher's Companion

Gavin Pretor-Pinney

Language: English

Pages: 245

ISBN: 0747589763

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The Wavewatcher's Companion

Gavin Pretor-Pinney

Language: English

Pages: 245

ISBN: 0747589763

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


One bright February afternoon on a beach in Cornwall, Gavin
Pretor-Pinney took a break from cloudspotting and started watching the
waves rolling into shore. Mesmerised, he wondered where they had come
from, and decided to find out. He soon realised that waves don't just
appear on the ocean, they are everywhere around us, and our lives
depend on them.

From the rippling beats of our hearts, to the movement of food through
our digestive tracts and of signals across our brains, waves are the
transport systems of our bodies. Everything we see and hear reaches us
via light and sound waves, and our information age is reliant on the
microwaves and infrared waves used by the telephone and internet
infrastructure. From shockwaves unleashed by explosions to torsional
waves that cause suspension bridges to collapse, from sonar waves that
allow submarines to 'see' with sound to Mexican waves that sweep
through stadium crowds... there were waves, it seemed, wherever Gavin
looked. But what, he wondered, could they all have in common with ones
we splash around in on holiday?

By the time he made the ultimate surfer's pilgrimage to Hawaii, Gavin
had become a world-class wavewatcher, although he was still rubbish at
surfing. And, while this fascinating, funny book may not teach you how
to ride the waves, it will show you how to tune into the shapes,
colours and forms of life's many undulations.

CP Violation (2nd Edition) (Cambridge Monographs on Particle Physics, Nuclear Physics and Cosmology)

Open-Source Lab: How to Build Your Own Hardware and Reduce Research Costs

Organic Chemistry: Structure and Function (6th Edition)

First You Build a Cloud: And Other Reflections on Physics as a Way of Life

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paul, Stone Age Soundtracks: The Acoustic Archaeology of Ancient Sites (London: Vega, 2001). 11 Watson, Aaron, and Keating, David, ‘Architecture and sound: an acoustic analysis of megalithic monuments in prehistoric Britain’, Antiquity, vol. 73, no. 280 (1999). 12 NASA-STD-3000: Man-Systems Integration Standards, Revision B, July 1995. vol. 1, 5.5.2.3.1. 13 Broner, N., ‘The Effects of Low Frequency Noise on People – A Review’, Journal of Sound and Vibration, vol. 58, no. 4 (1978). 14

Sound also travels faster through liquids than through gases. This seems rather counterintuitive since you might think that water would present more resistance than air. But resistance like this applies only when something separate is pushing through a material, displacing it as it goes. This is not at all the case with sound waves. When sound moves through a material, it does so by means of the material itself vibrating. The molecules over here collide with their neighbours there, which in turn

of coin, since the movement of an electric charge produces a magnetic field, and the movement of a magnet produces an electric field. And this interdependence seems to be how they pass through a vacuum. It is not easy to understand quite what electromagnetic waves are. So take a deep breath: we’re going in… A moving pulse of electric field causes a corresponding moving pulse of magnetic field (orientated at right angles to it), which gives rise to a moving pulse of electric field again (still

typical 2m whip is one-tenth that of the thong at the handle end, then the whip will concentrate the energy of the whip’s movement so that a loop at the tip travels thirty-two times as fast as its initial speed near the handle.7 So it is easy, with practice, to make the loop travel at supersonic speed. High-speed photography has shown that for the loop to travel at the speed of sound as it reaches the end of the whip, thereby producing the shock-wave sound, the cracker itself ends up travelling

scientists for a long time. In the 1970s it was even proposed that a leader hidden among the flock might be creating an electro-static field to tell the others when to move.9 Presumably, it would be saying ‘Left, everyone…OK, birds, wait a minute…now right, right, right!’ A study carried out earlier, in the 1930s, proposed that in order for all the birds to change direction at the same moment, they simply used thought transference.10 Neither was right, for it turns out that birds sometimes

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