Mike Wilson's Blog

I was a MA/MST student at Stanford's Center for Computer Research in Music and Accoustics.

This is my weblog.

Click here for my main page.


I met with Rick Pam in the Varian physics laboratory today.  I'm going
to try to set up a speckle-pattern interferometer to do measurements
on acoustic instruments.  I've never worked in an optics lab before,
but it looks like a lot of fun and Rick showed me the basics.

I'm working with a Class IIIb laser.  Apparently the way laser classes
work is: Class I you can look at with no problem, Class II you can
look at for a few seconds before damaging your eyes, Class IIIa your
blink reflex is fast enough to protect you from damage if you blink
immediately, and Class IIIb your blink reflex is not fast enough.  So
it's potentially dangerous, but with the right safety precautions it's
fine.  Rick said "Treat it with respect, not fear."

He also gave me an interesting fact - the standard f-stop numbers on a
camera lens are set so that each time you go down one standard number
the power is halved.

I'm pretty excited about setting this up.  It seems like a very useful
tool for doing research on vibrating systems, and I think I will have
enough time to finish it and make some measurements.  Plus, if I do a
good job documenting the process that would help future students who
want to build a similar system.

It would be nice if we could have a permanent interferometer set up at
CCRMA, but we're pretty crunched for space.  Still, it's something
that might be worth considering someday.

email mwilson@alumni.caltech.edu
Disclaimer: the views herein are my own and do not represent the views of Stanford University. All material copyright Michael J. Wilson.