Nature’s autonomous oscillators


Nonlinearity is required to produce autonomous oscillations without external time dependent source, and an example is the pendulum clock. The escapement mechanism of the clock imparts an impulse for each swing direction, which keeps the pendulum oscillating at the resonance frequency. Among nature’s observed autonomous oscillators, examples are the quasi-biennial oscillation of the atmosphere and the 22- year solar oscillation [1]. Numerical models simulate the oscillations, and we discuss the nonlinearities that are involved. In biology, insects have flight muscles, which function autonomously with wing frequencies that far exceed the animals' neural capacity. The human heart also functions autonomously, and physiological arguments support the picture that the heart is a nonlinear oscillator.

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Mayr, H. , Yee, J. , Mayr, M. and Schnetzler, R. (2012) Nature’s autonomous oscillators. Natural Science, 4, 233-244. doi: 10.4236/ns.2012.44034.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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