Media Hunt #1: Magnetic Pendulum

The magnetic pendulum displayed in the video above is an example of a “simple” chaotic system. At least, simple in the sense that it is easy to make and test. In class, we have come to learn and agree that sensitivity to initial conditions is one defining property of any chaotic system. This basic property is easily displayed in the magnetic pendulum. After testing each position on the grid, the experiment is executed once more and this time different results are obtained. Since the exact release position and release force was not provided on the second attempt there was no way for it to obtain the same results as the first run. If the experiment was attempted several more times it is highly unlikely that the first run results will ever be repeated. In the video, we are also shown a computer simulation of the magnetic pendulum. The first run of the computer program also do not match the results of the experiment during the first trial. If the simulation was run twice without any of the variables (such as the release position and the release force) changed, then it is likely that both outcomes will be the same.

A similar program that was used in the video can be found here and a bit of a mathematical explanation of the pendulum behavior can be found here.

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