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Geometrical Optics and the Singing of Whales
by Cathleen Synge Morawetz (Courant Institute, New York University)This article originally appeared in:
American Mathematical Monthly
Subject classification(s): Mathematical Physics | Applied Mathematics | Partial Differential Equations | Differential and Difference Equations
Applicable Course(s): 4.18 Applied Math (Math Modeling) | 4.16 Partial Differential Equations | 4.12 Advanced Math for Engineering & Physics
This article is part of the Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013 Collection. It was delivered as an invited address to the MAA at the 1976 Summer Meeting. The author considers the propagation of sound in ocean water, particularly whale vocalizations (i.e., "singing") and compares this to the analysis of geometrical optics. The mathematical background necessary to follow this discussion is classical mathematical physics or engineering mathematics.
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