Professor Allan Willms published in Royal Society Open Science

Posted on Monday, September 18th, 2017

Allan Willms
Dr. Allan Willms

We are pleased to announced that Department of Mathematics and Statistics Associate Professor Allan Willms, University Professor Emeritus William Langford and collaborator Petko Kitanov have had their paper "Huygens’ clocks revisited" accepted for publication in the prestigious Royal Society Open Science.

In 1665, Huygens observed that two identical pendulum clocks, weakly coupled through a heavy beam, soon synchronized with the same period and amplitude but with the two pendula swinging in opposite directions. In contrast, more recent experimenters have observed same-direction synchronization and other more complicated motion. Here we analyze the behaviour of a large class of coupled identical oscillators, including Huygens clocks, characterizing all possible solutions. We show that Huygens' physical system could only exhibit the type of synchronization he observed and we explain which physical characteristics of other systems allow for the existence of other types of solutions.

Full paper

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