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Oscillators
This nOde last updated July 12th, 2004 and is permanently morphing...
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oscillate (òs´e-lât´) verb, intransitive
oscillated, oscillating, oscillates
1. To swing back and forth with a steady, uninterrupted rhythm.
2. To waver, as between conflicting opinions or courses of action; vacillate: "The court has oscillated over the decades from more liberal to less, more conservative to less, depending upon who was president at the time of vacancies" (Gordon J. Humphrey).
3. Physics. To vary between alternate extremes, usually within a definable period of time.
[Latin oscillâre, oscillât-, from oscillum, swing, probably from oscillum, small mask of Bacchus, diminutive of os, mouth.]
- os´cilla´tor noun
- os´cillato´ry (-le-tôr´ê, -tor´ê) adjective

[Latin oscillâre, oscillât-, from oscillum, swing, probably from oscillum, small mask of Bacchus, diminutive of os, mouth.]
- os´cilla´tor noun
- os´cillato´ry (-le-tôr´ê, -tor´ê) adjective
Word History: The rather dry word oscillate may become a bit less dry as we learn its story. It is possible that it goes back to the Latin word oscillum, a diminutive of os, "mouth," meaning "small mouth." In a passage in the Georgics, Virgil applies the word to a small mask of Bacchus hung from trees to move back and forth in the breeze. From this word oscillum may have come another word oscillum, meaning "something, such as a swing, that moves up and down or back and forth." And this oscillum was the source of the verb oscillâre, "to ride in a swing," and the noun (from the verb) oscillâtio, "the action of swinging or oscillating." The words have given us, respectively, our verb oscillate, first recorded in 1726, and our noun oscillation, first recorded in 1658. The next time one sees something oscillating, one might think of that small mask of Bacchus swinging from a pine tree in the Roman countryside.

Oscillators
Oscillators generally contain an amplifier and some type of internal linkfeedback, so that the output signal is fed back to the input of the amplifier. Oscillators are used to produce audio and radio signals for a wide variety of purposes. Simple audio-frequency oscillators are used to create tones in push-button internal linktelephones. Audio tones generated by oscillators are also found in alarm clocks, radios, electronic organs, computers, and warning systems. High-frequency oscillators are used in communications equipment and by radio and television stations to produce transmitting internal linkfrequencies.

Oscillation

Oscillation, in physics, chemistry, and engineering, repeated motion back and forth past a central position, called the position of equilibrium. A single motion passing through the central position twice is called a cycle. The frequency of oscillation is the number of cycles per second, expressed as units called hertz (Hz). The internal linkforce that causes oscillation to stop is called damping.
Any oscillating object has a natural frequency that it tends to settle into. A small internal linkforce applied repeatedly to the object at this frequency can gradually increase the amplitude (maximum displacement) of oscillation until it is very large. This effect is called internal linkresonance.
Sudden, violent oscillating motion, known as flutter, can be dangerous. Such motion caused the spectacular collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Tacoma, Washington, in 1940. A gale wind blew at a speed that enhanced the natural swaying frequency of the bridge.



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The first "technology" corporation to move into California's internal linkSilicon Valley was internal linkHewlett-Packard, in 1938.  Stanford University engineers Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard started their company in a Palo Alto garage, with $1,538.  Their first product was an audio oscillator bought by Walt internal linkDisney Studios for use in making _Fantasia_



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