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Ducklings demonstrating superposition

Ducklings demonstrating superposition

Semester 2 starts on Monday, so I’m revising my lecture notes for my course on partial differential equations. This includes what is called the principle of superposition, which underlies what we know as the interference of waves. This picture (from a user called Spiralz on Wikimedia) shows interference off beautifully. Perhaps this is clearest on the left at about the same height as the ducklings, where the waves set up by the rear duckling intefers with that of its mother to produce a cross-hatched appearance on the water surface due to the addition (superposition) of the two waves going in different directions at that point. Beautiful physics, cute ducklings, what’s not to like.

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