Calculus &
Differential Equations
  Physical Science  

Makin' Waves

Dorothy Wallace


This humorous short text on the wave equation for vibrating strings and drumheads addresses conceptual and computational issues using a letter format. Three collaborators are producing a science fiction film based on properties of vibrating objects. Although the mathematician gives the usual explanation of the wave equation, the screen writer and director raise numerous objections to the usual answer, leading to the kind of discussions about modeling we wish were more prevalent among students of this subject. Set in South Florida, this story has humor, romance, and the wave equation in it -- everything you would want except alligators, cave tunas and tres leches.