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The L-Shaped Membrane

By Cleve Moler, MathWorks

The MathWorks logo is a lighted, reflective, surface plot of a variant of an eigenfunction of the L-shaped membrane. While the logo itself is a familiar icon, its mathematical background is less well known.

When a picnic basket covers one quarter of a square beach blanket, the remaining three quarters of the blanket form an L-shaped membrane. On a windy day, the motion of this membrane can be described using a wave equation.

In this article, Cleve Moler explains the mathematical underpinnings of the MathWorks logo, covering the wave equation, the L-shaped membrane, and its eigenfunctions, or modes of vibration.

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Published 2003 - 92021v00

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