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Forum: Reliability & Maintainability Questions and Answers

Topic: Reliability & Maintainability Questions and Answers

Topic Posted by: Reliability & Maintainability Forum ( )
Organization: System Reliability Center
Date Posted: Mon Aug 31 12:47:36 US/Eastern 1998

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Posted by: Diane Gordon ( )
Organization:Reliability Center, Inc.
Date posted: Thu Jun 7 9:51:32 US/Eastern 2001
Subject: Resonance
Does anyone know who discovered "Resonance?"


Subject: Origin of Resonance
Reply Posted by: Bruce Dudley ( )
Organization: RAC
Date Posted: Thu Jun 7 13:57:03 US/Eastern 2001
The Merriam - Webster Collegiate Dictionary says the date of the word "resonance" is 15th century, so we estimate that either "Galileo"(1564-1642) or "Mersenne"(1588-1648) are the originators. Both men lived in this century and are referenced as contributors in the science of acoustics. Our best estimate is Marin Mersenne based on the Mersenne's laws on the vibration of stretched strings. The origin of the science of acoustics is generally attributed to the Greek philosopher Pythagorus (6th century BC), whose experiments on the properties of vibrating strings that produce pleasing musical intervals were of such merit that they led to a tuning system that bears his name. Aristotle (4th century BC) correctly suggested that a sound wave propagates in air through motion of the air-a hypothesis based more on philosophy than on experimental physics; however, he also incorrectly suggested that high frequencies propagate faster than low frequencies-an error that persisted for many centuries. Vitruvius, a Roman architectural engineer of the 1st century BC, determined the correct mechanism for the transmission of sound waves, and he contributed substantially to the acoustic design of theatres. In the 6th century AD, the Roman philosopher Boethius documented several ideas relating science to music, including a suggestion that the human perception of pitch is related to the physical property of frequency. The modern study of waves and acoustics is said to have originated with Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), who elevated to the level of science the study of vibrations and the correlation between pitch and frequency of the sound source. His interest in sound was inspired in part by his father, who was a mathematician, musician, and composer of some repute. Following Galileo's foundation work, progress in acoustics came relatively rapidly. The French mathematician Marin Mersenne studied the vibration of stretched strings; the results of these studies were summarized in the three Mersenne's laws. Mersenne's Harmonicorum Libri (1636) provided the basis for modern musical acoustics. Later in the century Robert Hooke, an English physicist, first produced a sound wave of known frequency, using a rotating cog wheel as a measuring device. Further developed in the 19th century by the French physicist Félix Savart, and now commonly called Savart's disk, this device is often used today for demonstrations during physics lectures. In the late 17th and early 18th centuries, detailed studies of the relationship between frequency and pitch and of waves in stretched strings were carried out by the French physicist Joseph Sauveur, who provided a legacy of acoustic terms used to this day and first suggested the name acoustics for the study of sound.

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