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Next: Forward and backward wave Up: Waves Previous: Review of partial derivatives

Factoring the 1-D wave equation

To understand the wave equation in a more physical way, we need to remember a little algebra. Recall how the polynomial tex2html_wrap_inline275 could be factored into (b-a)(b+a)? We can do a similar thing with the wave equation by rewriting it as a big operator acting on p(x,t) as

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and then factoring as

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We see immediately that there are two operators acting on on p(x,t):



VICTOR W SPARROW
Tue Feb 25 21:24:33 EST 1997