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2009 High School Physics Photo Contest

Winner's Showcase

 

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Honorable Mention - Natural

Title: Superposition of Waves
Student: Alexander Craig Norton
School: Marlborough High School, Marlborough, Massachusetts
Teacher: Dr. Robert McLeod

This photo shows the amazing principle of superposition of waves. As waves cross each other, they are able to pass through without changing their direction or speed. Another property of superposition is the addition of amplitude. If you look closely where the waves intersect, you will see that the amplitudes of the intersecting points are equal to the sum of the amplitudes of the intersecting waves. This phenomenon occurred on a windy day in the Gulf of Mexico where the water was very shallow, only three or four inches deep over a sandbar. One set of waves came from the ocean heading toward the shore and the other set of waves was driven by a strong wind blowing parallel to the shore.

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