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Pumping a swing revisited: Minimal model for parametric resonance via matrix products

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article number055007
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Physics
Issue number5
Early online date12 Jul 2018
DateAccepted/In press - 22 Jun 2018
DateE-pub ahead of print - 12 Jul 2018
DatePublished (current) - Sep 2018


A child rises on a swing by changing the length of its chain. This is explained by the mathematical fact that the product of two elliptic symplectic matrices can be hyperbolic. The connection could be helpful in teaching both mechanics and matrices. A Hamiltonian formulation avoids an error. Random swinging is unlikely to succeed.

    Research areas

  • amplification, instability, pendulum, stability



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