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In physics, resonance is the tendency of a system to oscillate with larger amplitude at some frequencies than at others. These are known as the system's resonant frequencies. At these frequencies, even small periodic driving forces can produce large amplitude oscillations, because the system stores vibrational energy.

Resonances occur when a system is able to store and easily transfer energy between two or more different storage modes (such as kinetic energy and potential energy in the case of a pendulum). However, there are some losses from cycle to cycle, called damping. When damping is small, the resonant frequency is approximately equal to a natural frequency of the system, which is a frequency of unforced vibrations. Some systems have multiple, distinct, resonant frequencies.

Resonance phenomena occur with all types of vibrations or waves: there is mechanical resonance, acoustic resonance, electromagnetic resonance, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), electron spin resonance (ESR) and resonance of quantum wave functions. Resonant systems can be used to generate vibrations of a specific frequency (e.g. musical instruments), or pick out specific frequencies from a complex vibration containing many frequencies.

Resonance was recognized by Galileo Galilei with his investigations of pendulums and musical strings beginning in 1602.[3][4]


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