The MTC Page

An NSF Supported Initiative

IPFW Division of Continuing Studies

 Department of Mathematical Sciences
Department of Physics

Physics-Based Calculus
A Workshop for Teachers
June 16,17,18, 2003

IPFW Faculty Organizers
Adam Coffman
Timothy Grove
Peter Hamburger
Mark Masters

Photos from the 2003 Workshop.

Click Here for Prof. Tim Grove's page
with comments on his Sound Wave Analysis program,
and a link to download the latest version.
Prof. Peter Hamburger's Honors Calculus web site.
Prof. Adam Coffman's Notes for the Physics-Based Calculus workshop
10 pages, no pictures.
Prof. Adam Coffman's Notes on sequences and series in the calculus of one variable,
for second-semester calculus (MA 166) at IPFW. 17 pages.

Updated information for the 2003 workshop

  • For the first time, this course was offered for Continuing Education credit through the Division of Continuing Studies.
  • All participants who filled out the reimbursement paperwork on Wednesday should have received their payments from IU Bloomington by now.

FM Radio signal
An FM Radio Signal

  Mathematics Throughout The Curriculum Links
The MTC Page
IPFW Honors Calculus

Invitation: We invite teachers of Mathematics or Science, at the high school or college level, to participate in a three-day workshop at Indiana University - Purdue University Fort Wayne. The theme of the workshop will be Fourier Analysis, a branch of mathematics which has many applications, and which can be incorporated into a physics or calculus curriculum. Teachers in other subjects, such as music, computers, or art, may also be interested.


Registration for 2003 is closed because the workshop has finished. If you have questions about the workshop, you can send e-mail to Professor Hamburger at Hamburge (at)

Some Applications of Fourier Analysis in Physics

Here are some brief descriptions of physics projects where both the theoretical predictions and the experimental data can be analyzed using Fourier methods.

  • Force and Motion; Vibrations and Spring Systems.

    Monitoring the force exerted on a probe at the upper support we can determine the modes of vibration in coupled oscillators.

    A graph of experimental data and its Fourier Transform (79KB)


  • Building vibration analysis.

    Using speakers and a simple vibration probe we can monitor and determine the modes and frequency of vibration.

    A photo (104KB) of the monitoring device


  • Sound analysis.

    The human voice and musical instruments can be examined using Fourier transforms to determine the frequency components and their relative phases.

    Waveform of a Reed.

    Fourier Transform of above waveform


  • Light : Double slit interference, Interferometers

    Splitting light such that the two parts travel different path lengths produces interference. The interference pattern can be considered as a Fourier transform on the incident light dependent upon the wavelength of the light and the path difference between the two paths.

    A photo (356KB) of the laser experiment
    A graph with a curve and data points


  • Light : Fourier Optics

    Lenses, when arranged appropriately, take a two-dimensional Fourier transform of an object. This process can be used for image processing and filtering. This same process can be employed to produce calculated holograms.


The 2003 Physics-Based Calculus workshop was the third run of this program, following successful workshops in 2001 and 2002.

Department of Mathematical Sciences
Indiana University - Purdue University Fort Wayne
phone: (260) 481-6821
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BackTo the IPFW Division of Continuing Studies