Sadly and unexpectedly Wooster physics senior Teague Curless ’22 died yesterday. I was fortunate to teach Teague some physics, especially in my Nonlinear Dynamics class last spring. Teague’s semester project beautifully illustrated chaos in a double pendulum — a pendulum swinging from another pendulum, like The Swinging Sticks® kinetic sculpture that silently rotates and librates beside me as I write.
Using Mathematica, Teague numerically integrated the relevant Lagrange equations to simulate the motion of the double pendulum. He then created a two-dimensional initial angles plot of the time for the pendulum to flip as a function of the sub-pendulums’ starting angles, a beautiful high-resolution fractal-like image. I think Teague would have enjoyed the extension below, where I animate the color palette.