What makes the banjo ring? Explore one theory in this fascinating interview with Nobel Laureate David Politzer, a banjo player and theoretical physics professor at Cal Tech. He discusses the physics of the banjo with Jim Carrier.
Dr. Politzer knows quarks – and the five string! His interview is interspersed with sound files of frequency modulated signal generators and banjos. His theory has to do with frequency modulation created by the banjo’s drum-head moving up and down, lengthening and shortening the strings as they vibrate. Photo by Bob Paz.
Dr. Politzer’s Nobel speech and other musings can be found here.
His paper and course on banjo physics, and stuff on the banjo can be found here.
A Caltech newspaper account of Politzer’s role in the movie, “Fatman and Little Boy” is here.
For more information on Dr. Politzer’s work, visit this DOE site.
The interview is here: