Here’s a neat party trick to impress your friends.
Rub your finger around the rim of a wineglass and friction causes it, and any liquid it contains, to oscillate. When this vibration produces an audible pure tone, the wine glass is said to “sing”.
Now Ana Karina Ramos Musalem and pals at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel have shown how to couple one singing wineglass to another so the second wineglass sings without anybody touching it.
The trick is to place both wineglasses in a sink of water (without the water overflowing into the glasses). Rubbing one so that it sings should make the other sing too. This phenomenon is known as phase-locking and is also responsible for populations of crickets that chirp together and fireflies that flash together.
Phase locking depends on the strength of the coupling. This is greatest when the glasses are closer together and when their resonant frequency is similar. So if you run into trouble, try moving them nearer to each other and matching their frequencies by changing the amount of water in each glass.
Then watch as jaws drop around the dinner table.
(With apologies to Maya Angelou.)
Ref: arxiv.org/abs/0901.0656: Phase locking between two singing wineglasses