Conversations I Wish I Had

Particles don’t want to move

“Hysteresis stands between us and our ideal copy.” (Milner, 2009: 21)

Libraries Within Libraries

“There’s this great word, hysteresis, that refers to the lag a system exhibits when a force acts upon it. If you bend back the tines of a fork, and then remove your hand, the tines spring back a little. The position of the tines is determined not just by where they are at the moment you let them go but also by where they were a moment before. The tines remember. That’s hysteresis.

Hysteresis is particularly useful for understanding problems in ferro-magnetic systems such as magnetic tape recording, the most popular method for recording music in the last half of the twentieth century. Magnetic recording works by passing magnetized particles on tape through a fluctuating electromagnetic field. The goal is for those particles to form a tidy analog of the waveform being recorded. The problem is that, thanks to hysteresis, those particles don’t want to move. We’re good…

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This entry was posted on April 26, 2015 by .
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