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Mathematics & Science Learning Center
Computer Laboratory


Applications of Differential Equations

A Suspended Wire

(continued from last page...)

The curves we have been dealing with in this laboratory are called catenaries. The English word catenary comes from the Latin word catena, meaning chain. (The Romans used to take their dogs for walks attached to the end of a catena.)

Perhaps the most famous catenary in the world is actually upside down—the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri.

As we saw in the one case where we used Mathematica's DSolve command, instead of NDSolve, i.e. when we solved the problem analytically instead of numerically, the result involved the hyperbolic cosine function, abbreviated cosh. (You may, or may not have encountered this function in a previous course. A quick look at the buttons/menus on your calculator should reveal it, however.)

Anyway, you're finished with this laboratory. You can now quit altogether, go back and start over, or go to the general table of contents for all of the laboratories.

Compass If you're lost, impatient, want an overview of this laboratory assignment, or maybe even all three, you can click on the compass button on the left to go to the table of contents for this laboratory assignment.

ODE Laboratories: A Sabbatical Project by Christopher A. Barker

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