-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger
The 32 metronomes are started out-of-sync and after a couple of minutes they are synchronized. One metronome takes a little longer than the others. What’s going on? Answer below the fold.
The answer is provided by Julianne Dalcanton:
The key is that the metronomes are not on a solid table, but instead are on a slightly flexible platform hanging from a string. Thus, as a metronome’s pendulum rod changes direction, it imparts a small force to the platform, which leads to small motions in the platform. The moving platform then gives small nudges back to the metronomes. These forces will tend to push the other metronomes to speed up or slow down to match the timing of the original metronome, bringing the metronomes “in phase”.