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Physics/Resonance of sound


Dear Dr.Nelson,

I am a student of 10th grade and was going through a book with solved answers. A question was asked which is as follows:

With which of the following frequencies does a tuning fork of 256Hz resonate?288Hz,314Hz,333Hz,512Hz.
The answer is given 512Hz. But here I am a bit confused. According to our theory book "resonance occurs only if the frequency of another sound is exactly equal to the natural frequency of the vibrating body". As I understand 512Hz is but an integral multiple of 216Hz. Please help me out.

The statement in your books is incomplete, in that it should have said "a multiple of the natural frequency of the vibrating body."  The word multiple is missing.  If you draw in multiple standing waves, you can see it.


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Dr. Stephen O. Nelson


I can answer most basic physics questions, physics questions about science fiction and everyday observations of physics, etc. I'm also usually good for science fair advice (I'm the regional science fair director). I do not answer homework problems. I will occasionally point out where a homework solution went wrong, though. I'm usually good at explaining odd observations that seem counterintuitive, energy science, nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, and alternative theories of physics are my specialties.


I was a physics professor at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, research in nuclear technology and nuclear astrophysics. My travelling science show saw over 20,000 students of all ages. I taught physics, nuclear chemistry, radiation safety, vacuum technology, and answer tons of questions as I tour schools encouraging students to consider careers in science. I moved on to a non-academic job with more research just recently.

Ph. D. from Duke University in physics, research in nuclear astrophysics reactions, gamma-ray astronomy technology, and advanced nuclear reactors.

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